Cold Storage and Food Distribution: Why a Standard WMS Doesn’t Cut It

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Few businesses or process are more highly regulated than food production and manufacture, and that creates problems for food distribution or cold storage companies who attempt to implement a generic WMS.

The main purpose of a standard WMS is to track movement of palletized goods through a standard warehouse. For distributors of food, as well as cold storage, there are three main areas where a typical WMS fail to deliver:

  • Pallet-breaking or Case-breaking
  • Volume Shipping
  • Freezers & Environments

Pallet & Case Breaking

While most WMS have basic license-plating, they are not designed for the level of lot coding and traceability required for those breaking pallets or cases. One of the most complicated scenarios are meat distributors who are breaking apart cases and repacking for restaurants or retail. It requires tracking catch-weight—which no generic WMS can do—as well as tracking co-mingled lots throughout the process.

Even at the pallet level, a standard WMS can’t manage a pallet slowly being reduced in inventory, particularly if goods from that pallet—and lot—are then comingled with cases from another pallet. A standard scenario for food distributors. If this is your scenario, you absolutely need a food-specific WMS like ParityFactory.

Volume Shipping

One of the most critical features of ParityFactory for Food Distribution & Cold Storage is eliminating miss-ships. If you’re shipping whole trucks exclusively, this is likely to be a rare issue. But many distributors are obligated to ship many, smaller quantities—whether via their own fleet or carriers or both.

By integrating with your ERP, ParityFactory pulls all Sales Orders. Utilizing that information, our system won’t let team members add the wrong goods to a shipment. (It will also enforce FIFO, FEFO or other mandated processes.) For distributors doing dozens, hundreds or even thousands of shipments a day, a system is absolutely required to validate the goods going out. Often the dramatic reduction in miss-shipments covers the cost of the software alone.

Freezers

Lastly, freezers and harsh environments. Most warehouses aren’t even temperature controlled, let alone frozen. This creates unique challenges the typical WMS isn’t familiar with or particularly interested in. Most freezers don’t have WIFI. Standard labels won’t stay on in freezing temperatures. Freezers requires specialized hardware that contain heaters, etc.

These are the scenarios of Cold Storage and Food Distributors. Not only is ParityFactory familiar with them, we deal with them all the time.

In the end, ParityFactory sees and replaces too many WMS implementations at Food Distributors and Cold Storage environments. Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s critical to find a partner who understands your business. If you want to learn more, feel free to reach out to us!

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