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Labor Shortage & Automation Part 3: Improving Safety, Throughput, and Labor

This blog is part of the Labor Shortage and Automation series. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Previously, we wrote about automation empowering, not replacing, the labor force. Along with empowerment, automation can also be used to create a safer work environment, reduce long-term costs, and create more accurate and efficient processes.

In one warehouse, an antiquated system was enhanced by Integral’s partner, Kuecker Logistics, to improve inventory management. This boxed beef distribution center has about 50,000 boxes of beef introduced into the system and shipped daily. They had an efficient production side but struggled with inventory management and accuracy on the shipping side. Before the retrofit, the distribution center was manually picking and loading the system which created an inefficient, costly, and labor-intensive system.

The distribution center consulted Kuecker Logistics who installed an automated single box selectivity carousel system, in-line automated palletizers, as well as unit load cranes (AS/RS) to create a fully automated distribution center. The conveyance system that supports this process included over 5,000 feet of powered conveyor and 4 different shoe sorters with a total of 49 divert locations. Where once the company struggled with inventory management, they now continue to have record shipments. Automation increased throughput and order accuracy and reduced labor and unsafe working conditions.

Automation is a solution to a system that we find inefficient, unsafe, or difficult to staff. The solution at this distribution center not only solved their inventory challenges, but also met changing consumer demands. Now they have a safer, better, and more efficient logistics system. With new technologies frequently being released, is now the time to explore how automation may address your facility challenges?


If you are considering automation or would like to know how Integral can help, contact Gary Walker.

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