Jon Walkington, sales director, retail & systems integrators at Schoeller Allibert UK: As perhaps one of the most central elements of the commercial supply chain, logistics and warehousing are areas that continue to show great potential for delivering measurable gains in business efficiency and performance. As businesses endeavour to manage cost out of their supply chains, how goods are stored and handled becomes a critical success point.

Jon Walkington, sales director, retail & systems integrators at Schoeller Allibert UK.

Particularly in a commercial landscape that demands more volume and speed from fewer resources, the need for precision and agility has never been so great. While many of these sought-after efficiencies are within reach, they remain a rich source of headaches, particularly within the manufacturing sector. It’s precisely for this reason that increasingly, System Integrators and their brand customers are building logistic facilities with data and digital synergy front of mind.

It is likely that as e-tail and e-commerce channels continue to swell in size and complexity, data will play a bigger role in warehouse design and layout, as well as logistical structures. With information captured directly from digital sources and used to inform decisions at key supply chain junctions, retailers can be better armed to respond to purchase behaviours and trends.

Used effectively, automation solutions equip supply chains to make smarter choices in inventory management and storage, shortening picking journeys and ultimately creating a slicker, faster and more precise operation. The advantages are clear, from efficiency to cost control, but for many businesses, true integrated automation has struggled to shake off its expensive image, even though that’s no longer necessarily the case.

At Schoeller Allibert, we believe that digitalisation through warehousing and logistics should be simple, effective and truly value-adding. It’s this belief that shapes our core range of durable transit packaging, which can be imbued with technology such as RFID and Smart Labelling technology.

With today’s technology that connects software with physical processes, data collection and transparency can be made simple – while still creating enormous benefits. Integrated 4.0 solutions, enabling the use of IoT (Internet of Things) technology, are continually demonstrating genuine bottom-line value in a way that manual operations alone couldn’t accomplish, and are collecting invaluable data – a true commodity for competitive businesses – at the same time.

Using technologies that turn live data collection into useable insights can provide fantastic real-time supply chain performance data and transparency, and in doing so, reduce time and labour pressure on operatives and in-house resources. The grocery supply chain is a great example of how every single industry can take advantage of digital integration for operational efficiency. Relying on speed and pinpoint precision to reduce food waste and enhance safety, it perhaps has the most to gain from a digitally integrated and connected value chain – which means solutions, such as RFID monitoring temperature controls and time between processes, is a truly protective element.

At Schoeller Allibert, we have a hard-fought reputation as the leading name in durable supply chain logistics. We are continuing to drive evolution across a vast array of industries, including retail, automotive, agriculture, food processing, farming, catering and logistics. The sector nuances and priorities are different, but the underlying principles of efficiency, performance, safety and security remain the same.

Further to the benefit of warehouse and logistics teams, with the development of RFID enabled produce crates and tags, which detail information about the supplier, content, customer location, washing and delivery schedules, the technology connects with asset management systems that ensure precision through the length of the value chain. We offer this technology on a wide spectrum of Schoeller Allibert products and are always aiming to expand this to all corners of our portfolio.

In addition to the improved production efficiencies and greater reliability, perhaps most crucially, it enables customers to input data to their inventory prior to receipt, resulting in much faster processing of stock. Of course, as lean principles continue to dominate warehouse structures and ‘hyperefficiency’ remains the buzzword du jour across the evolving manufacturing sector, an end-to-end understanding of the supply chain is a must in identifying any potential areas for gains on a more granular and precise level.

From our perspective, it’s about ridding businesses of inaccurate inventories, redundant processes, layout inefficiencies and wasteful picking routes. Instead, we’re looking to turn business intelligence into actionable analytics. Our high-performance range of containers, totes, IBCs, dollies and pallets is a highly effective way of starting a more data-driven business journey. This fascinating wave of innovation is happening right now and we’re working with brands of every size to drive more value through the supply chain.

Automation has once again taken centre stage, and we continue to supply a number of best in class, durable plastic transit packaging solutions that have technology built in from the outset. This seismic shift in operational mindset, starting with a stronger foundation of data, shows no sign of slowing and excitingly for brands, the tools to capitalise on this growth are available.

Today’s supply chain technology, including our own returnable transit packaging, creates more efficiency, speed, and transparency, all without sacrificing sustainability. There are tried and tested operational solutions and commercial opportunities aplenty – and they are no longer just the reserve of large multinationals.

To find out more about the latest innovations in RTP from Schoeller Allibert, please visit www.schoellerallibert.com/uk

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