A cold storage operator shares six insights and achievements toward operational efficiency.
As we’ve worked with cold storage operators across a variety of industries, we have found a consistent theme among them—an obsession with efficiency. It is the job of operation leaders to focus on systematically creating efficiencies with labor, equipment, time, throughput, and energy to achieve sustained, profitable growth. When an operations leader declares victory on efficiency, it’s typically from shaking up the way things have been done and embracing a new way of operating and managing inventory.
We illustrate this efficiency obsession with a cold storage 3PL warehouse and logistics facility, FlexCold. A new entrant in the 3PL cold storage arena, FlexCold realizes a bold ambition by employing an inside-out approach to its modern building design and programming. The result is maximized pallet density and minimized square footage that yields substantial labor, energy, land, and operating efficiencies. FLEXSPACE and its mobile racking system were chosen to help FlexCold achieve all these benefits and create a warehouse that reflected its customers’ requirements and workflows.
FlexCold’s warehouse general manager, a 30-year industry veteran, who has worked only in static storage system environments - shares six examples and insights of how the FLEXSPACE Mobile Racking System aligns with his efficiency obsession.
Occupancy optimization. “My ah-ha moment with FLEXSPACE Mobile Racking was when I realized the amount of product that can be stored in a smaller space. FlexCold-Phase I is 150,000 square-feet with over 25,000 pallet positions. We get paid on occupancy and with the FLEXSPACE Mobile System’s high densification and single-select access, we achieve a very high level of occupancy.”
Overall time savings. “When I saw the mobile system and the forklift operator needing to move from one aisle to another, my question was how much time does it take for an aisle to open? The fact is it takes less than one minute. When I compared that time to the decreased number of pallet touches, ability to achieve full occupancy in the aisle, and high throughput rates due to the single-select nature – I wasn’t concerned with the minute. Ultimately, the Mobile Racking System saves us time.”
Decreased pallet touches. “Every time we touch a pallet it costs us. The FLEXSPACE Mobile System’s single-select access allows us to touch a pallet once going in and once going out. The “handling cost” is very real in our distribution world as it is a cost to us. Not to mention, the more we touch a pallet, the greater the likelihood of damage. Decreasing the pallet touches and handling increases labor productivity and contributes to our profitability.”
Less travel time. “My ah-ha moment of less warehouse space with increased densification was real. A smaller warehouse footprint has a tremendous impact on operational efficiency. With less space to navigate, less manpower is needed, less equipment required. Overall, a smaller footprint with increased densification increases efficiency on multiple levels which accelerates our goal of sustainable profitable growth.”
Forklift operator autonomy. “The FlexCold forklift team has a tremendous amount of autonomy to “work the zone.” The team can easily identify open pallet positions and complete put-away efficiently in an aisle before moving to the next aisle in the zone. This increases team workflow ownership and productivity.”
Reducing and/or even eliminating honeycombing. “The FLEXSPACE Mobile System and its single-select access allows us to literally fill every open pallet space. Our team is not hunting for an open pallet position behind position A or even position B. And that means more efficiency that helps the bottom line.”
The FLEXSPACE Mobile Racking System is more than a simple storage system. Its benefits of maximum densification, single-select access, and decreased facility footprint are fundamentally reshaping warehouse operations and the overall math of the business.
To learn how FLEXSPACE Mobile Racking system can help your organization, please contact us: email@example.com.