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How AS/RS Can Support Craft Beer’s SKU Growth

For years, the majority of the beer market has been occupied by the big industry players like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. While these industry leaders continue to hold a fair share of the market, smaller-scale craft breweries are gaining traction. By Westfalia Technologies

December 3, 2018

Today, the craft brewing industry is booming. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer production volume increased in the United States by 18 percent in 2014 alone.

Additionally, IBISWorld predicts that the craft and premium beer segments will reach $29.8 billion in revenue in 2019. As these small market and craft breweries keep growing, distributors are looking for new, strategic ways to obtain a competitive edge while taking on these additional SKUs.

For most, this means doing things a little bit differently in order to operate more efficiently, improve customer satisfaction and cut costs. Today, one of the most promising solutions for achieving a competitive advantage is warehouse automation technology.

Maximizing Space Utilization with AS/RS

As craft breweries continue to grow and generate more SKUs, distributors are struggling to find the necessary space for storing these products. At the same time, warehouse space is at a premium and new construction can be an expensive undertaking if not planned properly in conjunction with an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS).

But, by retrofitting their facilities or expanding in conjunction with high-density, multiple deep AS/RS, these organizations can essentially “do more with less” – they are storing more product in a smaller or same amount of space, and have room to accommodate for future growth.

There is no need for off-site storage, cross docking to remote facilities, or costly construction that is not optimized as part of implementing an AS/RS. While investing in an AS/RS may seem like a large capital expenditure upfront, it will be worth it, as the systems typically deliver ROI in three to five years and boast lifespans of more than 25 years.


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