Walking through the retail marketplace, observing the myriad beverage packages and visualizing the process that created what now is being observed, the magnitude and complexity of the process becomes evident.
The idiom “greasing the skids” commonly is used when describing a mechanism to help matters run smoothly. It is especially apropos for beverage plants that literally have to “grease the skids” with lubricants like oils, greases, pastes and sprays in order to keep multiple pieces of equipment in the supply chain operating at peak efficiency.
Every segment in the beverage industry experiences constant change syndrome (CCS) at various times during product processing, packaging production, warehousing, pre-distribution and distribution as the supply chain unfolds each operating day.
As beverage-makers develop new offerings to meet a growing number of consumer need states and drinking occasions, contract packaging and manufacturing is becoming a go-to solution for many brand owners.
Before the adaption of WYSIWG, the acronym for what you see is what you get, printed documents, web pages and slide presentations required users to have in-depth knowledge of codes and markup tags. But, through the use of these system editors, communicating a product’s layout has simplified the process and opened the execution to those who might not possess advanced coding knowledge. As warehouse operations become more complex, software companies also are advancing their programs to ensure plant managers can benefit from that same ease of execution.
Whether it is beer-makers using treated grey water in their recipes or beverage facilities powering their plants with solar energy, the push to care for the planet’s resources is impacting every category within the beverage industry.
Throughout the supply chain, materials movement (logistics) is a vital and operating-cost consuming issue. This is especially true in the beverage market because once a case of a beverage is packaged, it is actually available for the consumer; however, realistically, the case is handled many times before it reaches its final destination on store shelves. There is no value added by any movement beyond being placed in storage or loaded directly for delivery.
The “Pick-A-Little Talk-A-Little” song in the 1962 musical “The Music Man” features the gossipy, hat-and-feather-wearing matrons of River City, Iowa, telling Professor Harold Hill unsavory things about the town librarian. Although today’s voice picking technology focuses on warehouse operations instead of a library’s “dirty book” selections, the technology is drumming up its own attention thanks to its ability to escalate productivity and accuracy, improve safety and ergonomics, and aid in pickup, delivery and in-store workflows.
“Danger, danger, Will Robinson” was a phrase that the robot frequently uttered to the youngest member of the Robinson family during the mid-1960s TV show “Lost in Space,” about a family whose spaceship crash lands on an alien planet. Although the robots in today’s beverage plants do not display human emotions, robotic systems increasingly are being used in beverage operations to speed up bottling, packing and distribution efforts.
The January 2017 issue of Beverage Industry includes our 2017 Bottler of the Year cover story as well as articles about new product development, packaging, health and wellness products and more. Check it out today!