Mobile warehouse cuts time-to-market

Trucks and other road and transport have always been an important element in Australia’s materials handling and logistics industry.

However drivers face increasing pressure to beat the clock to keep handling times down.

Often the reason for urgency is poorly planned or poorly managed warehouse facilities which increases times to market and puts needless pressure on road carriers.

Australian materials handling specialist, Industrial Conveying (Aust) Pty Ltd, is now ‘fusing’ warehouse and truck operations to expedite stock movement.

The company’s Managing Director, Mr Done Erskine, says the smart operator will know how to fuse warehouse and transport aspects of the business to make use of the expediency of road freight.

“There is high importance to ensure that your road freight carriage in fact becomes the primary source of storage, basically making it a mobile warehouse,” says Erskine.

“Very few companies are utilising this train of thought – in fact they are not even recognising the potential for this to be done.”

“But when you study official figures on Australian road transport it is quite obvious that trucks move the majority of the country’s freight, so business managers and owners may need to be just their thinking completely.”

“They must consider making trucks the main source of storage and consequently setup materials handling and loading to service it accordingly,” he says.

According to a recent report from the Australian Logistics Council, 75% of Australia’s domestic freight is carried by the trucking industry.

This report shows the trucking industry carried 2,148 million tonnes of freight in 2004-05.

It was 75 per cent of the 2,866 million tonnes of domestic freight that was carried in Australia.

The rail system handled only 664 million tonnes, or 23% of the total, with the remainder carried by air and sea.

Road transport accounted for 37.5% of Australia’s freight task in 2004-05, with rail accounting for 35.9% and sea transport accounting for 22.1%.

“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,” says Don Erskine.

“Instead, they use a clever materials transfer system on their site that instantly moves goods from incoming to outgoing without storage.”

“Alternatively, they have equipped their transport carrier with appropriate systems to load and unload palletised or non-palletised product and transport it directly to their clients without warehousing.”

“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.

More information Ph: (03) 5440 5100, web:

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