Consumer demand for fresh, quality products to be available anytime means that food producers, manufacturers and processors should keep lead times as short as possible, respond to seasonal peaks and provide deliveries on time. PROflow, BITO’s pallet live storage system, provides the ideal solution for meeting these requirements. It ensures that the FIFO principle (First In, First Out) – a key ingredient for success in the food industry – is maintained. The Greenery is a leading distributor of fruit and vegetables, which has opted for this racking solution and its success has proved it made the right decision.
The name PROflow refers to BITO’s well-established and successful PRO pallet racking – a modular system that can be adapted to individual requirements. The second part of the name, ‘flow’, conveys motion. Put that together and you have the PROflow system, for live storage and push-back racking, which both provide special features to give an advantage over conventional pallet racking.
In contrast to static pallet racking, pallet live storage allows products to be stored in FIFO sequence. The lanes of each pallet live block are replenished with stock from the loading aisle. Products are picked at the opposite side so those fed in first are taken out first. This sequence offers numerous advantages such as easy control of sell-by dates, production batches and product lines. Moreover, it gives direct access to all items at the picking face and each pallet moves forward by gravity when the empty one in front is removed. Sufficient replenishment quantities guarantee constant product availability. Given that products are always in direct access at the picking face, order picking is both fast and easy. The clear layout, which allows immediate product access, helps to reduce process times and improve process predictability.
Pallet live storage installations are far more compact than pallet racking and provide a better overview of the reference lines on stock. This reduces travel routes for order pickers as well as the time required for order collation at the loading dock. In addition to increasing picking performance this storage solution can be used within a much smaller floor surface, a fact that will save energy costs – particularly in cold stores.
Load separator eliminates lane pressure
The FlowStop load separator is an innovative feature of BITO pallet live storage. Mounted to the picking side, the load separator reliably separates the first pallet from the other pallets in the lane, allowing forklift trucks to retrieve a pallet safely without lane pressure and without damaging the component. Truck forks can pass under the full length of the pallet – there is no need to pull the pallet halfway out and then reposition the forks. This makes product handling a lot easier and reduces the risk of fruit or vegetables crates toppling over.
Hygiene is of course a major food industry requirement, whether in ambient warehouses, in chill stores or in cold stores – and strict regulations apply. For this reason, BITO pallet live storage can be provided with tiltable roller conveyor lanes, which allow convenient cleaning of the floor beneath. Even when products are handled with care, there is a risk that truck forks can cause damage to packaging units – leading to spilt contents and soiled warehouse floors. With tiltable roller conveyor lanes it is easy for warehouse operators to keep these areas perfectly clean.
BITO’s focus on fresh foods for The Greenery
The Greenery is a leading fruit and vegetable distributor, which has opted for BITO pallet live storage to handle its broad range of produce, which spans organic home-grown as well as exotic fresh fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. This range is supplied to supermarket chains, wholesalers, gastronomy establishments and the processing industry. To cater for each market segment, The Greenery has subsidiaries in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, UK, Poland, Italy, Russia, Romania, Brazil and the US. Each subsidiary specialises in a product group or a particular market segment, which allows The Greenery to adapt at any given time to customer demands globally.
For example, Dutch grown produce is complemented by imported produce from all continents such as citrus fruits, banana and other exotic fruit, as well as produce that does not grow in the Netherlands all year round – such as cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes or cauliflowers.
In the Netherlands, some 276 supermarkets are supplied with up to 4000 pallet loads of fresh produce each day, which creates demanding storage requirements for The Greenery. Its pallet live storage installations have been equipped with picking tunnels to link buffer areas with picking areas. Pick pallets are supplied in live storage lanes, with pallet buffer stock located on top. Buffer stock is also kept in live storage lanes as well as products that do not grow in the Netherlands during some months of the year. Relocating fully loaded pallets from the buffer area on top to the live storage lanes at floor level guarantees continuous supply to the order pickers. This, in turn, ensures an uninterrupted supply chain to retailers. Moreover, BITO’s solution makes optimum use of the warehouse capacity, which would be much lower with static pallet racking.