Take a Snack Break with Warehouse Execution Systems
By Morgan Williams, Marketing/Graphic Design Assistant
Over the last decade, consumer demand for snack foods has grown as taste preferences have changed and Americans are becoming increasingly health-conscious. Growing health concerns about eating foods that are high in fat, sugar and sodium have lead consumers to seek more nutritious alternatives to their traditional snack foods, thus affecting the strategies of many snack food producers. In response, food manufacturers are forced to introduce a variety of reduced-fat and low-calorie options as well as 100-calories packs for consumers focused on portion control.
Additionally, new companies have had the opportunity to enter the market with innovative and unexpected snack options, such as kale chips and roasted chickpeas, presenting consumers with more choices and brand variety than ever before. Snack food producers are able to capitalize on these changing consumer preferences by pricing the new “healthy” snacks at a premium due to the higher production and shelving costs. Alternative snacking options have been the source of a 4.3% growth in the industry since 20101, allowing many companies to focus on capital investments and future expansions, including automation.
An automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) paired with a warehouse execution system (WES) can be beneficial to snack food bakers and manufacturers who need to follow strict food safety regulations. Accurately tracing products throughout the entire warehouse is the first step in ensuring products don’t go to waste. The traceability of snack food products begins with a state-of-the-art software solution, like a WES, that can provide real-time management of product information and processing around the movement of SKUs within a warehouse. According to Dave Williams, director of software development for Westfalia Technologies, “a WES can help bakeries and snack food plants move product more efficiently because it simplifies all communication and controls within the warehouse.”
“As more manufacturers and distributors turn to automation, there becomes a stronger emphasis on using software applications to more efficiently run warehouse operations. Yet, the use of interdependent WMS and WCS applications has actually proven less efficient, as it increases the complexity of transaction processing and required complicated integrations. A WES is key to overcoming these challenges by helping users streamline all warehouse activities within a single application, positioning themselves for future growth,” said Williams. A WES is designed with built-in integration of both a warehouse management system (WMS) and a warehouse control system (WCS) functioning together as a single entity and allowing the system to handle transaction processing between the two.
To learn more about Westfalia’s Savanna.NET® WES, watch our video Savanna.NET - Inside the Warehouse