What’s the difference between a Warehouse Management System (WMS) and a Warehouse Execution System (WES)?

Warehouse Management Systems manage common operations such as inventory control, customer orders, and auditing whereas Warehouse Execution Systems are typical in facilities with moderate-to-heavy levels of automation. The WES generally interfaces with the WMS to organize and optimize the flow of work required to assemble and ship orders. In addition, the WES interfaces with the automation controls to execute the work – it’s the WES that controls the robots!

What types of automation does Americold use?

Americold strives to deploy only the most appropriate types and amounts of automation given the circumstances – we don’t automate for automation’s sake. Because of this philosophy, we have a number of different technologies in use today and in our plans for the future. Semi-automated systems, such as pallet shuttles operating in deep storage racking and forklift-attached layer pickers, are used in addition to highly automated systems such as pallet load Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems, robotic layer pickers, pallet mono-rails, and case buffer/sequencing technologies with robotic palletization. All are designed to the specifications we require and, of course, to operate in our temperature-controlled environments.

What are some of Americold’s newest technology innovations that I could benefit from?

Americold’s IT infrastructure is second to none – we work with top-tier providers who specialize in supply chain systems to ensure we’re at the forefront of what’s available.

Our WMSs are the brains behind inventory management, planning, and electronically building order instructions for our Associates and systems to fulfill. You’re able to customize pallet builds so orders are loaded sequentially for ease of use at the destination, be it a distribution center or an aisle in a grocery store.

We can even support your pallet management program within our systems if you have one.

Our WMSs work through Warehouse Execution Systems to control multiple solutions, such as Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems, Automated Guided Vehicles, pallet moles, pallet transportation systems, lifts, and pallet wrapping and labeling equipment.

With our linked facility network, we’re able to provide visibility to all of your inventory, no matter where it is across our network. And we’ve streamlined our truck appointment process by introducing Online Appointment Scheduling through i-3PL.

Americold’s Warehouse Management Systems are fully integrated, meaning that you have complete control of you supply chain and inventory through our i-3PL system. Access it on any computer, tablet, or smart phone. Reach out to us if you’d like to know more information and a system demonstration.

What are some of the requirements of Safe Quality Food for Storage and Distribution?

SQF maintains a web page that provides a tremendous amount of information regarding the food safety programs, training opportunities, and detailed requirements: www.sqfi.com. The actual Code for Storage and Distribution can be found under their “Resource Center” and it’s free to download. You can also find additional information about FDA and the recent Food Safety Modernization Act on the same site.

Americold’s Director of Food Safety is an active member of SQF’s Technical Advisory Council and could likely answer any further questions you might have. Contact us for additional information.

What are some examples of controls employed by Americold warehouses to keep my food safe?

Each Americold facility follows FDA-mandated requirements for documenting and implementing Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls. As food is received and shipped at our warehouses, product temperatures are collected, recorded, and verified to meet customers’ strict requirements. Trailers are inspected to ensure they are capable of maintaining food security and product integrity. During storage, cold room temperatures are monitored multiple times per day to ensure tight temperature control. Additionally, Americold facilities deploy several other food safety perquisite programs, such as allergen control to prevent allergen cross contact, cleaning and sanitation, preventive maintenance, and pest control.

How can Americold minimize business transition risk and launch disruption?

Our Program Management Office (PMO) includes experts in operations, engineering, construction, and refrigeration. We build or retrofit proven solutions on-time, with full risk and contingency planning. Our network of warehouses enables us to create short-term storage strategies with tollgate milestones to implement a backup plan. Our rigorous methodology ensures your launch is successful through detailed ramp-up and staffing planning, multi-workstream integration, and KPI visibility and oversight.

How do I know if my business could benefit from automation?

Our in-house supply chain engineers and architects are industry experts in all forms of automated design. We have full-line facility design capabilities, competitive with any paid consulting firm, and the full process is in-house: Design, Build, Operate. We have extensive experience in rationalization of technologies through data analysis, design alternative evaluation, supplier selection, and business case assessment.

What are the locations of your Regional Consolidation Centers?

We have Regional Consolidation Centers in Allentown-PA, Atlanta-GA, Carthage-MO, City of Industry-CA, Clearfield-UT, and Rochelle-IL.  All locations have been chosen for their location, ease-of-access for our carrier partners, and consolidation activity volume-handling capabilities.