Advanced Interleaving: Realizing the Benefits of “Hands-Free” Processes

    Posted by Ashley Ayers on May 7, 2019 9:00:00 AM

    warehouse-social

    For many enterprises, adopting and implementing new warehouse technologies can lead to troubled integrations and difficult customizations… but there’s hope! Keep reading to learn how Labatt Breweries partnered with enVista to successfully implement HighJump’s Warehouse Management Solution (WMS), creating automated processes across brewery and distribution center (DC) operations.

    Background:

    Labatt Brewery was founded in London, Ontario in 1847 and is now a member of the AB InBev family, the world’s largest brewer, which produces more than 500 iconic beers sold in more than 100 countries.

    Labatt currently operates six breweries across Canada, producing nine million hectoliters of beer and employing 3,400 full time staff.

    From an operations perspective, Labatt maintains a warehouse space in Canada, spanning more than 1 million sq. ft. and executes approximately 100,000 shipments per year. Additionally, Labatt partners with more than 100 transportation companies including a large dedicated fleet to fulfill shipments.

    The Challenges:

    When faced with these shifting industry trends, Labatt recognized the need to increased efficiency and productivity across its operations. This would include the implementation of a new WMS with unmatched adaptability to enable automated processes.

    Labatt had several challenges that needed to be addressed through the warehouse technology upgrade, including:

    • Floor space constraints
    • Truck weight and product sequencing
    • Communication to yard
    • Forklift congestion
    • Infeed of empty cans/bottles must stay full
    • Pallet take off lines quickly fill

    Solution:

    Labatt partnered with enVista to implement HighJump WMS and develop advanced interleaving processes to automate and eliminate certain warehouse tasks.

    What is interleaving?

    Interleaving is the process of combining multiple warehouse tasks performed by a single user into a string of non-stop activities. Interleaving reduces the amount of user travel time as well as the amount of non-value-added movements, such as driving an empty forklift across the warehouse.

    For example, a user’s first task may be to unload a pallet from a trailer as an inbound receipt of finished goods and place that pallet into a reserve location in the warehouse. Based on the current location of the user after they have placed the pallet into the reserve location, their next task may be to pick a pallet close by for an outbound order and place it in a dock staging location.

    As a strategic HighJump implementation partner, enVista enabled solutions to Labatt’s business challenges by:

    • Reducing and eliminating product line stoppages by customizing complex interleaving tasks to automate inbound, outbound, yard and quality control processes across Labatt’s six breweries and seven distribution centers.
    • Interleaving the infeed of empty bottles with the removal of full pallets from the outfeed lines to allow for the automated adjustment of user task priorities based on line speed.
    • Enabling a constant product flow by reducing the number of pallets that need to be stored on the floor vs fluid loading directly into an outbound truck by interleaving and automatically generating movement tasks for the yard driver based on the actions inside the brewery.
    • Interleaving replenishment of pick face location with the movement of inbound and outbound pallets to improve operations.

    Automating time consuming quality control tasks between workers to expedite tasks such as first pallet unloaded from a new trailer, first pallet loaded onto a trailer and timed production line quality assurance checks.

    Results:

    Labatt saw increased efficiency across many facets of its operations, including:

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    As a longtime HighJump implementation partner, enVista has been a strategic partner since 2002 and in 2019 was named HighJump's North America Strategic Partner of the Year.

    This content was created by HighJump partner, enVista

    Topics: Warehouse Management System (WMS)