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Warehouse system implemented at Foster’s

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MARC Global Asia Pacific has announced that its warehouse management system has been implemented on schedule at Foster’s Group new multi-beverage warehouse at Yatala, south east of Brisbane.

Carlton & United Beverages (CUB), a division of the Foster's Group, is implementing a $170m project to significantly improve its supply chain operations and reduce costs across the business.

A major component of this project is the closure of the Sydney brewing operation (Kent) and the upgrade of the brewing and warehouse facilities in Brisbane (Yatala).

The upgraded Yatala facilities will be responsible for production and supply to the majority of the New South Wales market as well as Queensland and the Northern Territory. This equates to approximately a quarter of all beer consumed in Australia.

The new warehouse at Yatala is a 20,000 sqare metre facility which is the receiving point for four packaging lines, and stores approximately 16,000 pallets in bulk and racking storage locations.

The four packaging lines are directly interfaced to a 'mass accumulation table' that holds up to 100 pallets ready for direct loading and transportation. An existing 5000 square metre warehouse at the Yatala site is utilised for storage of kegs produced from two upgraded production lines.

The site has been designed to handle a weekly production capacity of more than one million cases of packaged beer (13,800 pallets) and 92,500 draught beer kegs (10,300 pallets) as well as external receipts of more than 2000 pallets of packaged beverages (including wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages), and 500 pallets of kegs.

A single instance of MARC has been successfully implemented across the two warehouses using the following design principles:

* Paperless

* Non constrained / System directed

* Real Time visibility

* Optimise warehouse resources

* Enables and supports innovations

* Ensuring the solution can be rolled out to subsequent sites without excessive modifications to the software, documentation or team.

The MARC-WMS solution introduces a seamless integration with all production line receipts and facilitates direct loading from this mass accumulation table to outbound vehicles wherever this is appropriate in terms of LIFO rules. This to avoid 'double-handling' and occupying storage space in the warehouse.

Within the CUB Yatala operation, there are multiple types of forklifts, including single and twin forklifts. The MARC-WMS solution has been designed with task interleaving functionality that also allows operators to pick multiple pallets simultaneously for a single load.

A twin forklift may carry up to two package pallets or four draught pallets, providing they are within the cube and weight maximum limit of the forklift. The benefits for the CUB operations are:

* Decreased travel time of forklifts, picking up as much as is allowed in one hit

* Reduced loading time of trucks

* Allows an operator to do multiple type bulk oriented tasks, taking into account the equipment they are operating and their proximity relative to outstanding tasks

* Optimising the travelling time

* Maximise the amount of time that forklift operators will be travelling loaded, which improves the efficiency of the warehouse operation.

Also unique for this site are the overhead walkways throughout the facility, thereby reducing pedestrian traffic within the main warehouse, supporting the strict CUB OH&S regulations.

The Foster's Group purchased new state of the art Intermec RF equipment for the Yatala upgrade project. The MARC application is run via RF on a Windows XP touch screen for the forklift drivers, which is the first of its kind in Australia.

This provides Foster's with the future ability to directly interface with other warehouse applications such as a Yard Management System or Pallet & Keg Tracking systems.

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