From Warehouse to the Shelf: The Journey of Your Valentine’s Chocolate

By: Morgan Williams, Account Coordinator

If you purchased a gift for your significant other this past Valentine’s Day, chances are that it went through a warehouse before it arrived on the shelves of your local store. But have you ever wondered how that box of chocolates made its way from the production line, through a warehouse, onto a truck, and to the store shelf?  As much as we would love to say these gifts appear from cupid himself, the whole process revolves around sophisticated supply chains coordinating a seamless flow of products, ensuring they arrive fresh and on time to your loved ones.

For chocolate, the supply chain process can be a lengthy one.  Since the primary ingredient for chocolate, the cocoa bean, can only grow in specific regions around the world, the shipping and delivery of the raw product to plants such as Hershey’s in Pennsylvania and Cadbury in England, must be accurate and on-time.  In order to meet the criteria required to ship the finished product (chocolate), a system that can track inventory and ensure proper, temperature-controlled storage is essential.

Savanna.NET moves product throughout the warehouse Using an application like Westfalia’s Savanna.NET® Warehouse Execution System (WES) can help your organization meet higher order volumes and increased sales volume during seasonal peaks, like Valentine’s Day. Savanna.NET® provides the ability to accurately manage inventory levels and fulfill store orders with the appropriate product.

A major advantage of a WES in a facility handling food products, like chocolate, is the ability to automatically and instantly track the product throughout the process.  A WES is also used to enforce inventory environmental constraints by ensuring adherence to specific product requirements, such as refrigeration, stackability rules, etc. 

WES applications, are used to coordinate operations and efficiently manage an automated facility. When coupled with an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), for instance, the resulting system provides an extremely efficient process to facilitate order fulfillment. Also, WES applications provide the robust functionality that allows the software to be used to direct manual labor in a conventional warehouse. 

There are several additional advantages that companies are seeing as they utilize a warehouse execution system. First, a WES allows the company to efficiently utilize the space within their facility, which can reduce costs and allow for the expansion of inventory.  Secondly, inventory accuracy is improved by systematically tracking products, helping to reduce waste and order shortages due to insufficient inventory.  Lastly, when managing temperature-sensitive products such as that Valentine’s Day chocolate, a WES is able to utilize just-in-time (JIT) order fulfillment, meaning the product is not sitting on a loading dock for longer than it should be and is not being exposed to less than ideal conditions.

This all sounds like a fantastic way to give your operation the edge it needs, but how do you know it’s time to implement even the most basic warehouse software application?  Here are just a few of 10 tips that might indicate that it’s time for an upgrade :

  1. Inaccurate order rates are rising: this could be anything from incorrect items, to incorrect quantities, or even damaged product
  2. Late shipment: if your orders can’t get out the door on time, it might be time for a WES
  3. Increased human error: the handling of products by humans is bound to lead to damage and timeliness errors
  4. Inability to keep up with demand peaks: when a holiday like Valentine’s comes along, a chocolate distributer must be able to keep up with the increased demand
  5. Jammed up receiving dock: the JIT order fulfillment capability of a WEMS avoids backlog on the receiving dock in order to streamline loading and unloading of trucks

A WES can be the software you fall in love with this year because the benefits that come from the software are immense.  From something as simple as saving on energy costs to a function as complex as accurate inventory management, a WES and your facility can be a match made in heaven on the road to efficient warehouse operations.

If you still aren’t sure if WMS is a perfect match for you, contact us today for a free demo of Westfalia’s Savanna.NET!

Our Mission: To deliver unparalleled warehousing solutions by earning the trust of our customers, understanding their business needs and honoring the commitments we make.