How Automation Solves the Challenges of Labor Shortage, Order Picking

Cimcorp in the News: Automated solutions are a familiar sight in the majority of refrigerated and frozen food warehouses. Most companies, such as those in the ice cream market, have installed automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to rapidly move products to and from storage. This optimizes the movement of goods, and saves warehouse staff from the need to brave the cold and move through aisles retrieving products.

However, an AS/RS does not eliminate people from the picture. Normally, these systems will transport goods to a temperature-controlled environment for manual picking and order fulfillment by warehouse staff. While the temperatures in these picking areas are slightly more tolerable, employees still need to bundle up and work in cumbersome conditions.

With staff needing frequent warm-up breaks, it quickly creates inefficiencies in fulfillment. On top of that, facilities are managing an expanding number of SKUs and more frequent orders and dealing with an already shrinking number of available employees. There is certainly room for improvement, which automated order picking can help fill.

A growing number of orders, but who can pick them?

Today’s consumers are continuing to gravitate toward refrigerated and frozen foods, including prepared meals, organic and vegan offerings and frozen fruits and vegetables, due in part to their convenience and longer shelf life.

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