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The U.S. craft brew industry has grown to incorporate thousands of SKUs. Increased choice and quantity are great news for consumers and distributors who desire a broader portfolio of brands and packages. But it also introduces the need to store and move more cases and barrels of beer, while optimizing piece picking and managing fluctuating demand for individual SKUs.
Companies undertake warehouse and DC optimization by analyzing product mix. Such assessments require the complex statistical analysis of case-picking volume for each SKU. The results are translated into optimal storage, pick area, staging, cleanliness, material handling equipment, vehicle parking, congestion, product slotting, replenishment and vehicle flow. Issues to be addressed include:
The craft and microbrew boom isn't showing any signs of slowing down. As part of a comprehensive warehousing and storage optimization strategy, distributors must optimize warehouses, DCs, technologies, and systems to consolidate floor space, reduce transportation spend, and improve stock rotation.
Brian Neuwirth is president of UNEX Manufacturing.
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