7 minuti di lettura

7 Ottobre 2022

The world of goods transfer is changing. It's not a secret

Above all following a pandemic that has hit almost all industrial sectors and a war affecting the market, logistics urgently needs to evolve to keep itself on its feet and compete with the excessive power of the industrial giants.

Yet there are several companies with respectable businesses and an enviable production, able to overcome adversity and keep themselves in the game over the years while continuing to grow.

How are growing companies located today?

A company with a history, which has faced crises, has survived and sees its business grow, usually has its warehouse in a dedicated area within the production plant. Of course, the more the company grows, the tighter the environment becomes. He would like to buy neighboring land but unfortunately they are almost all occupied.

So what does it do? It obviously moves in, or tries to move.

It tries to do so because in fact it is not always possible to dismantle a plant to rebuild it elsewhere. The costs are so high that you are almost always looking for another way, that is, you buy or rent an external warehouse, as close as possible to the production area or in a strategic position for sending the goods to customers (for example near the highway).

So they use a shuttle system to manage the logistics of their product?

A company that produces large volumes of products already has a logistics system to make deliveries throughout the country. Their problem is to maintain a high level of efficiency when moving their goods from the plant to an external warehouse and to reduce the costs of the operation.

Let's go into detail

Usually, companies that produce large quantities of goods easily find themselves having hundreds, even thousands of packages to transfer from the production plant to the warehouse every day. ogni giorno.

To transport goods, semi-trailers are usually used, which are the most common means of transport for goods on pallets.

A standard semi-trailer can contain up to 33 Euro pallets measuring 800x1200mm. Which means that to transport 600 of them it will take 19 trips a day. (find out more Pallet)

In technical terms, transporting a full load includes the loading and unloading times of the semi-trailer and the round-trip travel times. This is what is called a duty cycle.

So, how many cycles can a semi-trailer do in a day?

Obviously the answer to this question is variable. It depends on the time it takes to move from the factory to the warehouse and the time it takes to load and unload it.

Let's see an example

The time it takes to load a semi-trailer is between 30 and 50 minutes depending on the equipment a company has and approximately 30 minutes to unload.

If we assume that we cover the distance between the factory and the warehouse in 15 minutes we have the following work cycle:

Come incrementare le performance: analisi del tempo di ciclo di lavoro

Going back to the hypothesis of having to move 600 pallets, 19 work cycles per day will be needed.

To dispose of this work, 32 hours of work are needed, i.e. 2 semi-trailers working in two shifts and 4 drivers.

How to increase performance and save money?

To save on shuttle costs and at the same time increase the performance of its logistics, the company must reduce the work cycle time, and this can be done in 2 ways:

1)     Reduce distance between factory and warehouse

2)     Reduce semi-trailer loading and unloading time

As regards the distance, this depends on the availability of land and the availability of construction in areas adjacent to the company's factory, while to reduce loading and unloading times it is necessary to equip oneself with advanced technology that allows loading and unloading the pallets quickly, reducing working times.

We can give an example by applying our system to the previous example.

A Moveco Systems loading system can load or unload a semi-trailer in just 90 seconds.

Considering the overall time which includes the entry of the semi-trailer into the factory, the reaching of the loading station, the time to open the doors, the loading or unloading operation itself, the time of closing the doors and exiting the factory, we use 12 minutes and the work cycle goes from 100 to 54 minutes.

With similar weather, it is possible to carry out the work with just one semi-trailer over 2 shifts (2 drivers).

With this system not only are handling times reduced but the cost of the shuttle fleet and the cost of 2 drivers are halved (approximately €100,000/YEAR Gross), quickly amortizing the cost of the automatic system.

When is it convenient to adopt a similar system?

This type of solution becomes all the more convenient the larger the quantity of pallets to transport and the shorter the distance to travel.

The following table shows how the resources necessary for the movement of goods are reduced and the savings increase with the increase in pallets to be transported, keeping the travel time constant (we will continue to use an example of 15 minutes for the outward journey and 15 minutes for the back).

How to increase performance: comparative table of performance as pallets grow

As regards distance, the following table highlights how an automated system becomes more efficient the more the travel time between the production plant and the warehouse is reduced, assuming a production of 800 pallets/day.

The two graphs clearly show how the savings increase with the increase in the pallet to be shuttled and the shorter the distance to travel.

We can further highlight the convenience by cross-referencing the data in this third table:

In addition to the savings on the shuttle operation itself which we can see from the tables, we must consider as savings (even without quantifying it because it will depend on each company) the reduction in the workforce necessary to carry out the loading/unloading operations and the equipment that normally is used, such as forklifts and pallet trucks. With an automated system, only one operator is needed to operate the control panel of the automated line for the transfer operation from/to the semi-trailer.

A further option to make the system even more performing is to use a goods accumulation line so as to be able to take advantage of a third work shift, i.e. the night shift. The pallets that are shuttled at this time can accumulate on an "accumulation" system and be managed at a later time during the day shifts. The systems can also be directly interfaced with the end of the production line, with automatic warehouses or with AGVs.

It is therefore clear that the automation of loading and unloading processes represents a winning strategic choice to improve the competitiveness of the company. When processes are automatic, a triple objective is achieved: reduce operating costs, improve service levels and increase overall logistics efficiency.

Are there any other advantages besides the reduction of shuttle times and the consequent economic savings??

The optimization of the shuttle process that an automated system can offer is not limited to improving efficiency or cutting the costs that a company must bear. There are other important factors to take into consideration, first of all safety.

The risk of injury in the company is a serious possibility that can cause various problems for companies. Logistics has some critical issues in this area.

For example, during the movement of pallets a whole series of dangers come into play for operators, such as the risk of being crushed by the load in case of incorrect handling, or of falling from raised floors. Risks due to wear or damage to the equipment and of course risks deriving from human error.

An automated loading system eliminates this type of risk, since the operator does not directly handle the load, but controls the machine from a safe position. We can safely say that having an automatic system makes handling safer for the company.

Another important advantage is the sustainability of a shuttle system that uses an automatic loading / unloading system.

In the previous tables we have highlighted some boxes that show the savings on the number of semi-trailers needed to carry out the work, highlighting that the use of an automated loading/unloading system would prevent companies from having to use a certain number of vehicles (which would become superfluous). This means avoiding future disposal of unnecessary vehicles.

Finally, we highlight that an automatic system like the one offered by Moveco Systems is designed for industry 4.0.

Our technology can communicate with our customers' management software and interface with existing systems and LGVs.

How can a company find out how much it would save if it equipped itself with an automatic loading/unloading system?

We know well that every company is unique and has different needs. Our mission is to help companies find the most convenient solution. Our consultation is free.

If you want to know how much you can save with our systems, please contact us.