By implementing a new, automated “variety pack” processing line to custom-assemble, shrink-wrap and label up to 15 cases a minute, Bettway Supply Chain Services, a logistics service provider, has expanded its beverage distribution and fulfillment services.
Beginning as a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based soda bottler that delivered products to local businesses roughly 50 years ago, the provider added the new services at its state-of-the-art beverage storage and fulfillment facility, known as BevDS. Encompassing more than 300,000 square feet, the Piscataway, N.J., warehouse has 52 dock doors, can store more than 35,000 fully loaded pallets and supports more than 20 customers handling beverage and other food-grade consumer packaged goods (CPG) products.
The new variety pack line features automated materials handling equipment, coupled with a sophisticated, heat shrink-wrap process to rapidly assemble packaged cases of beverages—of varying container sizes, flavors or SKU configurations—with custom wrap colors, product logos and graphics.
“Beverages are one of the fastest moving consumer goods for grocers and other retailers,” says John Vaccaro, president of Bettway. “Technology and automated systems, [which] support custom packing and fulfillment, are critical to meeting the demands of the market. This investment gives us one of the most modern and efficient co-packing operations in the Northeast.”
Variety pack orders are typically secured as pallet loads and trucked to regional DCs, or as direct store door deliveries to retail outlets, such as grocery, “big box” or convenience stores, Vaccaro explains, adding that the company’s dedicated trucking fleet can be deployed to serve pool distribution and multi-stop delivery needs.
Prior to the installation of the variety pack line, beverage products were shipped out to a re-packer and then back to the provider for final processing. The days required for this intermediate step—and the added cost—were eliminated.
Vaccaro also stresses that the new line supports Bettway’s extensive e-commerce fulfillment capabilities. “This is an increasingly critical, high-demand capability, particularly as today’s consumers have flocked to online ordering during the pandemic,” he says.
The logistics service provider is integrated with multi-party e-commerce platforms, as well as the dedicated e-commerce systems of beverage producers who can flow online orders directly to the provider’s facilities for fulfillment. Upon the electronic receipt of an order, the provider’s staff members then pull, process and ship orders daily—often thousands per week.
E-commerce orders are typically four-packs of beverages shipped directly to consumers. The logistics service provider also supports e-commerce orders through Amazon, as it assembles and bundles shipments, prior to trucking them to Amazon warehouses for later fulfillment.