Storing Perishable Items in a Warehouse
What Counts as a Perishable item?
A perishable item is one that due to its composition is likely to spoil or expire quickly, and cannot last for long periods of time. They are also more likely to suffer adversely due to temperature, pressure or humidity changes. Perishable items can range from the more obvious such as dairy and meat products, fresh fruit and vegetables, but can also cover plants and flowers.
Also, there are products considered semi-perishable items, which can be some vegetables and most nuts. These are items that may not require refrigeration but do need good quality air and ventilation to stay fresh. Finally, there can be some medical products that are also considered perishable. Regardless of level, all items need to be prepared and stored properly to ensure quality for the end consumer.
Storing Perishable Items
As mentioned, perishable items need extra attention in the supply chain. Mostly in aid of ensuring the products are both stored correctly and are sent out to customers as fresh as possible, with the longest expiry dates attached to them. This also ensures the quality standards of the product’s company remain high and supports their business growth.
However, within the perishable warehousing industry, there are many rules and processes to follow to ensure perishable products remain preserved throughout the journey from creation to customer. This can become an arduous challenge for many businesses, especially considering the speed required to deliver in time. There are also variations in output during the calendar year to keep in mind; companies and 3PL’s need to be able to manage these fluctuations well.
Some Key Aspects to Consider:
Perishable items must be kept at specific temperatures, and moisture must be controlled where they are stored. 3PL’s will have different capabilities depending on what storage facilities they have on-site, so it’s important for companies to know exactly what requirements their products need before reaching out to any distributors.
Perishable items, more than other products, must avoid any kind of contamination. This can be from dirt within the warehouse, all the way to microorganisms born within the packaging and warehouse itself. Isolated areas for specific foods, as well as regular cleaning, will ensure the safety of products.
Most of the work in storing perishable items ends up in the management of the stock itself. Anything from tracking, labelling and ensuring the oldest items go out first. Great companies will use smart warehouse design to keep the oldest stock as the most accessible to pickers.
The shorter the period of time items can be stored the better off they will be. This means having fast processing in and out of the warehouse. Capable and fast teams can ensure this is done safely and quickly.
What does that mean for Bray?
When perishable goods arrive at the Bray Warehouses, the team ensures all products each have individual product labels, clearly marking their ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates. These dates are also logged into the Bray Solutions stock management system on arrival, so the team can monitor when goods are coming close to their end date.
The team already operates using the industry-standard FIFO basis, which is essentially first in, first out. So paired with the computer monitoring systems, Bray can ensure the oldest stock is always picked first for orders. This in turn helps with stock rotation within the warehouse.
How do Bray’s customers stay up to date?
For each of Bray’s customers, they have access to their own customer portal, where they can monitor their stock levels. The team also creates email notifications, which are set up to notify the customer when their stock is close to its end date. This enables customers to decide on whether they wish to try and sell the goods at a cheaper rate up to the upcoming expiry date, or simply dispose of the goods when they go past the date. Customers can also assign SKUs with specific dates to orders if they wish to do so.
Our goal at Bray is to ensure our customers are in complete control of their products, as well as ensuring their products stay fresh, and up to industry regulation standards. For more information about storing facilities and packages at Bray, get in touch with our team today.
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