While many companies strive to make the most efficient gains through available channels of outsourced supply chain management and logistics, it is an interesting point to note that many tend to overlook their own premises and perhaps are operating with a low level of internal handling efficiency.
Materials handling specialist, Industrial Conveying Australia (ICA), has looked across the whole materials handling spectrum and found two main areas in which transporting and handling goods can return optimum efficiency — especially when working with pallets.
Managing director of the company, Don Erskine, says that from the outset it is vital a materials handling system is completely integrated to maintain product flow.
Also, and it is something many companies don’t do, its contract transport service should be used as a de facto warehousing component.
“Plant managers are now extremely conscious of reducing the duty cycle of palletising systems and they want the best technology urgently,” says Erskine.
“By combining pallet technology with innovative engineering, Australian businesses can now be provided with what is best described as a turnkey palletising solution for any requirement.”
“One, or a combination of our multiple technologies can be integrated with a client’s sorting system so that it can operate a multiple product palletising system.”
“This process means supply can be made on an as-needs basis, a dedicated palletising system that can include anything from our fixed machines, conveyors and lifting equipment all the way through to robotic systems.”
“Furthermore, by utilising extensive range of standard dedicated palletisers our engineers are able to efficiently develop cost effective solutions to any palletising challenge.”
According to Don Erskine, smart operators are the companies that have studied the logistics market and have seen positives in utilising transport and freight services to eliminate costly warehousing and quicken truck turnaround times.
Key to this becoming a widespread reality is knowing exactly how to best set up loading and unloading systems to work in synchronicity with transport company services.
“Mainly through our work in devising solutions of this type for companies serious about cutting operating costs have we determined that this is now a reality,” Erskine says.
“Until recently, operations managers have been content to receive stock through an incoming goods dock, store it temporarily while organising transport to its client, and then eventually send it again on another truck.
“This has been occurring in virtually every industry including perishables, food and beverage, engineering, mining supply, agricultural and rural, primary industry, retail and consumer, and almost any other industry of which one can think.”
“But with an optimised materials handling system put in place, smart companies, instead of storing stock on the premises for an indefinite period, rarely have to see their goods.”
“Instead, they use a clever materials transfer system on their site that instantly moves goods from incoming to outgoing without storage, or they have equipped their transport carrier with appropriate systems to load and unload palletised or non-palletise product and transport it directly to their clients without warehousing,” he says.
“This new approach is bettering supply chain standards and eliminating double handling and storage time that costs business in so many ways.”
Firstly, with floor charges per metre continually rising, the elimination of reliance on warehousing is an automatic, and enormous, cost saving.
Reduction in multi handling of stock also reduces time and operating costs and ensures smoother movement of product from manufacturing base or bond store to the customer
In the case of perishables, reduction in supply chain steps can only be of benefit to handlers of product with limited shelf life.
“Our involvement in this type of materials handling solution was sparked by a growing call from industry that warehouse consolidation alone does not adequately reduce running costs,” Erskine says.
“It was clear a step had to be taken out of the materials handling sequence to provide a leaner level of operation for many Australian companies.
“That has allowed us to develop fixed and purpose-built systems for a demanding market serious about making transport systems a de-facto storage solution.”
Using its existing product and technologies alongside solution-specific developments, ICA is currently developing several turnkey projects for Australian companies undertaking this cultural change.
Among these technologies are:
• Automated transport loading and unloading systems including handling unit loads or complete truck loads.
• Pallet handing systems such as multi-lane palletising equipment, to organise truck loads ready for dispatch.
• Elevators and spiral conveyors for non-palletised goods transfer between different floor levels, powered roller conveyor and lift tables.