Dairy is a unique material handling category with its own set of rules. Product is date-sensitive, must be climate controlled, must meet strict sanitation guidelines, and most significantly for our industry, it is ever-expanding. Gone are the days when fluid milk was simply processed and shipped. Today milk is whole, 2%, 1%, skim and either cow, almond, organic, soy, lactose-free, and even chocolate. All that milk goes from cow to grocery store in about 2 days! And may we note again, that is just the milk. Dairy as a product category is rapidly growing and/or shifting and in some cases declining depending on the latest style or flavor options available to consumers for the many products being developed by an ever-growing list of manufacturers. So, how do we stay on top of this SKU proliferation with perishable products that have to be kept at varying degrees of cold? If you guessed gravity flow, you’d be correct!
When we say dairy we include milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, coffee creamers, and any number of different customized flavor-combination packages of any of the above so what’s a distributor to do with all of those SKUs? Well, if we think about it from dock to shelf to dock we can help identify several warehousing areas that would benefit from some non-electrical, built-to-last, easy to use gravity flow products.
Gravity Flow Benefits for Dairy Distribution
- Designed for FIFO product rotation
- Ideal for perishable goods
- Compatible with sanitary food-handling guidelines
- Quick set-up and reconfiguration
- Maximizes storage density in costly cooler environments
- No automation required
Why Pallet Flow Rack for Dairy Processing & Distribution?
Pallet flow racking in dairy products distribution provides dense storage that rivals any other deep-lane storage method (such as drive-in, push-back, and automated). It also provides the FIFO product rotation preferred with perishable goods inventory and SKU selectivity for high-volume product categories. Pallets are loaded from a rear aisle and flow down to automatically fill the pick-face spot as it becomes available.
Magnum wheel pallet flow rack is the go-to for freezer and refrigerated gravity flow applications. With heavy-duty polycarbonate wheels that handle double the wheel capacity of competitive products without chipping or splitting, and a wider surface area for better pallet tracking down the lane, the Magnum wheel performs so well that it comes with a lifetime damage warranty.
- Most durable pallet flow wheel available
- Ideal for heavy loads over 3,000#
- Best choice for freezer applications
- Lifetime abuse warranty!
See how Magnum wheel pallet flow rack is put to the test in for a leading national dairy distributor. Pallet weights tested ranged from 1300 to over 1700 lbs. a 3-rail magnum wheel pallet flow lane with speed controllers.
Dairy Carton & Tote Picking Based on SKU Volume
Where the volume of individual SKUs is too low for full pallet fulfillment (i.e. foodservice or grocery distribution vs. dairy processing facility), full cartons can be selected from either pallet flow pick lanes or carton flow rack, shelving and/or pick modules.
For higher volume case-pick applications, cartons are selected from the front pallet position of a pallet flow lane or module and placed on the pick cart or conveyor. Easily accessible, dense reserve storage is located directly behind the pick location in the pallet flow lane.
For lower volume SKUs, full pallets are broken into cases and loaded into a carton flow system that allows for the same pick-face accessibility and automatic refilling that comes with full pallet gravity flow. Carton flow can be designed to handle varying carton widths and like all Mallard pallet flow rack products, our carton flow is made to withstand the harshest warehousing conditions. Dyna-Flo HD carton flow quickly and easily drops into existing pallet rack and is a perfect option for multiple, changing SKUs.
- Easily drops into existing pallet rack
- Full wheel bed accommodates cartons of all sizes and shapes
- Durable wheel and axle assembly
- Simple, easy product re-profiling
- Consolidates and increases pick slots
Pallet Flow at the Dock
Pallet staging can be optimized with floor-mounted pallet flow at the docks. Pallet flow at the dock staging areas helps manage quick-moving inventory, crucial in dated product situations, and reduces forklift use and travel time. Pallet jack access ramps, a Mallard specialty product, can be added to the pick-side of the flow lane to allow pallet jacks to quickly and easily move heavy materials from the flow lanes directly onto the waiting trucks.
Dairy & Durability
We recognize that “talk is cheap” and what most people really want is a concrete example… well, we recently shared a blog about a customer’s experience with Magnum wheel in their dairy processing operation. With fast-moving, high volume SKUs this customer required a system that would be dependable hour after long hour in a cold storage application. We don’t’ want to spoil the ending, but, Magnum wheel performed!
Here’s the recap:
- Dairy cooler application
- Fast-moving/high volume SKUs
- 3, 4, 7-deep pallet flow
- 120,000 magnum wheels
- 800 mill pounds of product
- 350K+ pallets moved
- 1 broken wheel
Check out the full story here.
You don’t have to just trust us. Give us a call and we’ll design a gravity flow test so you can see your system at work before you buy!