Smart Palletizing Drives More Efficient Supply Chains

Smart Palletizing Drives More Efficient Supply Chains

Palletizing is often the last process before products go out the door. The combination of robotic integration, software and auxiliary automation systems work together to create a palletizing solution that can have a profound ripple effect — setting up later supply chain processes for greater efficiency. The way pallet loads are constructed can affect how quickly and efficiently drivers can make convenience store deliveries and retail employees can re-stock shelves.

Today, a nearly unlimited number of SKUs are available to accommodate ever-changing consumer preferences, pressuring businesses to maintain larger, more diverse inventories. This, combined with the industry-wide challenges of finding and retaining labor, is driving up the demand for automation solutions. Companies need solutions flexible enough to handle complexity and capable of both saving labor inside the four walls and making it more efficient elsewhere in the supply chain.

Mixed pallets offer improved productivity

To meet consumer demands for various products, quantities and packaging, mixed-case or mixed-load pallets have become more prevalent. Automation solutions designed to create these loads allow manufacturers, retailers and distributors to replace repetitive, manual handling processes with greater efficiency and accuracy.

Palletizing software solutions allow pallet loads to be built-to-order, produced in the exact sequence in which employees will unload it or retail display specifications dictate, down to the cases in each layer. These custom, mixed-load pallets greatly enhance labor productivity, expediting each stop for delivery drivers and speeding up replenishment operations at stores.

The right tool for the job

Maintaining performance as products and packaging evolve requires choosing a robotic mixed-load order fulfillment solution with end-of-arm tooling capable of handling a wide range of packaging sizes, shapes and materials. End-of-arm tooling is a highly specific component that represents a large percentage of the overall costs of the palletizing system, so understanding the application and designing accordingly are critical.

What types of product and packaging? What are the target throughput rates? Working with the right partner will ensure robotic palletizers have the capabilities that match your operation’s needs — custom-designed tooling included. For example, certain tooling types can even handle more than one product at a time, greatly increasing throughput and efficiency. 

With downtime needs in mind, smart palletizing operations can drive returns both on-site and at the point of sale, ultimately reducing costs and increasing throughput. To learn more about how your company can benefit from robotic palletizing solutions, watch our video on recognizing the need for automated palletizing.

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