How Daifuku’s Cold Logistics Solutions Solve the Storage and Labor Challenges in the Frozen Food Industry
Cold storage is a hot business in North America. In 2020, the market was worth a whopping USD 38.70 billion, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. With a projected CAGR of 10.7% from 2021 to 2028, the demand for cold storage is expected to soar. And the U.S. is leading the way, with a massive 3.7 billion cubic feet of refrigerated space to store and transport frozen goods.
Cold chain logistics can be daunting, but you are not alone in facing these challenges. There are effective solutions to overcome the obstacles that threaten your efficiency and quality.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the common pain points of cold chain logistics and how you can overcome them with Daifuku’s innovative automated solutions. Daifuku is a leader in cold chain technology, helping global brands like Kraft Heinz optimize their processes and boost their performance. Whether you need to store, transport, or distribute your frozen goods, Daifuku has a solution for you. Read on to find out more or get in touch with us today to see how Daifuku can help you achieve your cold chain goals.
The Current Challenge with Cold Chain Logistics
Navigating cold chain logistics isn't easy. There are many obvious challenges, from having to manage the likes of condensation, microbial growth in freezers and other elements involved in necessary temperature control to the extra care and handling that items require.
Yet, what makes cold chain logistics arguably even more challenging is the way things are trending now. The number of SKUs is increasing - so much so that storage is at a premium when conventional fixed rack shelving is in use. Order runs are becoming smaller. It's becoming harder to adequately store the right volume of product via conventional solutions. Combine all of this with a labor shortage that's still impacting the quality and quantity of workers that are employed and available, and it's easy to see why many firms are struggling these days with cold chain logistics. Keep in mind that workers typically do not want to work in cold environments.
The good news is that there are solutions and systems to help solve many of these challenges. As a global leader in automated solutions, Daifuku has specialized in turning concepts into solutions since 1973. Many of these automated solutions can help make cold chain logistics more effective, efficient, and profitable for your firm.
Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS)
From its speed and dependability to its advanced control system, Daifuku's unit load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) is among the most popular solutions in the world. And it's applicable in all types of environments - including those that are as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. These systems will typically allow heights up to 40M tall.
Daifuku offers single deep, double deep, and pallet shuttle systems for addressing a variety of SKU profiles related to inventory and throughput. Single and Double deep type systems are good for distributing both full and mixed refrigerated and frozen SKU pallets to retailers or direct to store. These systems provide for a means to case pick outside of the frozen zone. Typically, these customers will have an inventory turnover ranging from 4 to 30 days with greater than 500 SKUs.
The AS/RS stacker crane, which is also available in a cold-resistant model, that works to automatically store and retrieve any load fast and efficiently, thereby reducing cycle time and enhancing productivity in the distribution center. AS/RS systems are also designed to be flexible and can be customized to various warehouse or cold room environments.
The D3 pallet shuttle works well for refrigerated systems and will operate in a range of 0-40 degrees C and humidity ranges of 10-90%. The D3 system is typically used for fast AA and A type SKU movers for both full pallet and case pick systems. This system can be used in conjunction with single and double deep systems. The D3 system will typically be 3-10 deep single SKU lanes with a per aisle throughput that is 2-3 times as fast as a single or double deep cranes. This equipment will go up to 27M tall.
Rail-Guided Vehicle Systems (Sorting Transfer Vehicle)
The rail-guided vehicle system, or sorting transfer vehicle (STV), specializes in sorting pallets and can serve as the perfect complement to the AS/RS system to take logistics to an even higher level. And being that the STV is also available in a refrigerated environment model, it can go a long way toward accelerating cold chain automation while reducing workforce needs.
As reliable as it is flexible, the STV comes in a variety of layout configurations, including a single shuttle system, dual shuttle system, multi-vehicle system and more. These systems are a high-speed form of pallet conveyance which helps to deliver pallets to Goods-to-Person case picking systems and to the shipping dock.
Mobile Racks: High Density Reserve Storage Mobile racks are a material handling solution where pallet racks are placed on either a chassis or guides that are installed on fixed racks throughout a warehouse floor. Also simply known as "storage systems" or "storage units," such systems are usually on wheels to make them easier to move around the shop floor.
So, how do mobile racks help with cold chain logistics?
You will typically find Mobile Rack type storage around ports for imported goods where the logistic profile will be as follows:
• Two to three months of on-hand storage
• Handling at the Pallet Level
• Storage Efficiency (i.e., density) is more important than loading and unloading efficiency
Daifuku's mobile pallet racking system consists of two fixed racks at both ends of the system, with the remaining racks on dollies in between the bookends. Because of this makeup, the rack only requires a single aisle space per system, thereby reducing the storage rack footprint by 50 percent when compared to a conventional racking system.
Key Benefits of Mobile Racks
Other benefits of mobile racks when it comes to cold logistics include:
• Three operating modes - full-width passage mode, half-width passage mode, and equal spacing mode - can be used for taking inventory and in combination with forklifts for manual picking.
• A user-friendly interface with a remote control that makes the operation of the system fast and easy.
• A built-in safety system to help alert workers to potential hazards.
• A "cold" model that helps the racking system work effectively in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Improved Efficiency Means a More Worker-Friendly Environment
One of the key benefits of implementing the ASRS for cold chain logistics is improved efficiency. The crane based ASRS systems will help eliminate the requirements for manual labor for the storage and retrieval of unit loads. Although Mobile Rack solutions are most beneficial for density there is also a labor efficiency gained. Here, forklift drivers are confined to single aisle which reduces travel compared to more conventional cold storage layouts. This doesn't just enhance productivity and profits, but it can also help address labor shortage issues. It's currently estimated that nearly 75 percent of warehouse operators can't find enough labor and the problem is expected to continue through 2030, when an expected 2.1 million unfilled jobs are projected in the sector.
Finding workers for this environment is challenging enough. Adding the cold factor makes the job even less appealing. That’s why mobile racks are a great solution. They boost efficiency, so workers can pick products faster and easier in these areas.
Contact Daifuku Today.
Daifuku’s cold logistics solutions are designed to address the storage and labor challenges in the frozen food industry. As a global leader in automation, we’re ready to connect you with innovative technology that will take your warehouse productivity to new heights. Contact us today to find out more about the right solution for your environment and how to get started.