Mahindra Logistics provides warehousing efficiency for FMCG clients using technology & automation

FMCG represents a highly demanding sector within the business landscape, characterized by slender profit margins and relentless market competition. The primary objective is to expedite product deployment to market while maintaining cost efficiency. Achieving this mission hinges upon the strategic positioning of goods and the judicious selection of warehousing and distribution methodologies.

Within the FMCG realm, where the margin for error is exceedingly slim, the management of FMCG warehouses evolves into a multifaceted and intricate undertaking. Seamlessly orchestrating the entire operational spectrum, from the adept storage of products to their efficient distribution, necessitates a specialized methodology. This entails a nimble, precise, and innovation-driven approach to integrated warehousing and distribution network as well as solutions.

FMCG encompasses an extensive array of product categories, spanning perishable and non-perishable items, as well as items characterized by variable demand velocities. Each of these product types demands a tailored approach to handling. Personnel engaged in warehouse operations must be equipped with unambiguous, detailed instructions and comprehensive knowledge regarding critical parameters such as product shelf life, optimal storage conditions as well as the meticulous management of inventory levels.

The vigilance required to oversee factors such as product expiry date, utilization of appropriate storage methodologies, and meticulous inventory tracking mandates the implementation of smoothly operating and highly efficient warehouse facilities.

Mahindra Logistics Limited, a pioneer in the field of integrated warehousing and distribution solutions, has consistently provided tangible benefits to its FMCG customers. Their technology-backed solutions optimize warehousing space, improve material handling efficiency, streamline transportation, and accelerate turnaround times for clients. All of this translates into significant business benefits and overall customer success.

How do you design warehouse layouts and processes to ensure swift picking, packing, and shipping of these goods?

Sreenivas Pamidimukkala, Chief Information Officer, Mahindra Logistics Ltd.: “At Mahindra Logistics, our approach to designing warehouse solutions, layouts and processes is deeply rooted in our commitment to providing efficient, customer-oriented services and integrated supply chain solutions. With a substantial warehouse footprint of over 19 million square feet, including 4.3 million square feet of strategically tailored build-to-suit warehouses, we are well-equipped to meet the dynamic needs of the evolving logistics industry.

When a client engages us for warehousing solutions, we initiate the process with a comprehensive analysis that encompasses a thorough examination of historical data, including consumer trends, product movements, and assessment of the cost-to-serve. By delving into this data, we gain insights that enable us to understand our client’s unique requirements. Subsequently, we employ solution design techniques to craft a tailored warehousing strategy. This strategy not only ensures swift picking, packing, and shipping but also optimizes the overall warehouse layout to accommodate industry-specific nuances.

Our data-driven approach helps us to classify materials into fast, medium, and slow-moving categories. This information helps us strategically plan our put-away, picking processes, enhance procurement efficiency and amplify productivity of FMCG companies.

 Incorporating advanced technologies is pivotal in our approach. Our warehouses are equipped with state of-the-art, tech-enabled solutions, including Wi-Fi connectivity that empowers us to monitor active locations of products in real-time, facilitating seamless tracking of goods throughout the supply chain. During product movement, the system promptly alerts, ensuring full visibility and shipment traceability. Additionally, it aids in proactive inventory management, minimizing stock-out situations and optimizing replenishment process.”

While expediting picking, packing, and shipping operations remains integral to Mahindra Logistics’ approach, they acknowledge the paramount importance of efficient product storage. These practices serve as the cornerstone of their warehouse optimization strategy, embodying the planned organization and placement of goods. This meticulous approach accelerates order fulfillment and reduces the risk of goods damage, safeguarding the quality and integrity of products within their supply chain.

How is Mahindra Logistics managing efficient storage at the warehouse?

Sreenivas Pamidimukkala: “Efficient storage and management is a pivotal aspect of our commitment to providing cutting-edge warehousing solutions in a fast-paced and highly competitive FMCG industry. We understand how FMCG products are characterized by their lightweight and compact nature, which inherently lends itself to optimal storage practices. At Mahindra Logistics, we employ a multifaceted approach to ensure efficient storage within our warehouses.

First and foremost, we leverage the compact size of FMCG items by intelligently grouping and consolidating multiple items within a single storage location, maximizing storage and space utilization. Furthermore, we utilize the opportunity to merge subcategories of items, thereby, enhancing our storage efficiency.

 To address the challenge of precisely locating products within our vast warehousing network, we rely on advanced active location tracking systems. These technology-enabled solutions offer real-time visibility, ensuring that products are readily accessible when needed. This level of granular tracking not only streamlines our internal processes but also enhances our overall logistics performance.

Our warehouses are designed to offer flexible, scalable, and customizable designs and solutions. This allows us to adapt swiftly to the evolving needs of our clients and their products. In cases where vertical storage becomes imperative, our BTS (Build to Suit) facilities are equipped with 11 meters of clear height. This clearance enables us to install various specialized storage systems, such as APRS (Adjustable Pallet Racking System) and multi-tiered shelving racks. These innovative storage solutions significantly augment our warehousing capabilities, empowering us to accommodate a more extensive inventory assortment.

Our approach to efficient storage in the FMCG sector is characterized by adaptable warehousing solutions. By capitalizing on the innate attributes of FMCG products and leveraging advanced technology, we optimize storage space, ensuring our customers have consistent access to the products they require.”

The FMCG industry, being one of the most fiercely competitive sectors globally, demands a tailormade, contemporary approach vis-à-vis the traditional warehousing practices. Consequently, MLL’s unwavering commitment to investing in cutting-edge technology and automation offers that desired edge to the clients. In an industry marked by rapid inventory turnover and the need for swift and efficient handling, storage, and distribution, embracing technology is fundamental to their success in delivering integrated supply chain solutions while leading the logistics industry from the front.

How are you using technology to improve efficiency and helping your FMCG customers stay ahead of the curve?

Sreenivas Pamidimukkala: “At Mahindra Logistics, we recognize that staying at the forefront of this highly dynamic FMCG sector demands not only agility but also a commitment to scalability, flexibility, and reliability. To empower our FMCG customers and enhance the overall supply chain efficiency, we have integrated automation and AI technology into our efficient warehousing solutions.

In the past, warehouse operations predominantly relied on manual processes. The conventional workflow consisted of a set process: receiving materials from suppliers, followed by the storage of products in designated racks, outbound operations involving order picking, product consolidation for packing, and ultimately, shipping. The final step in this process involved meticulous inventory management, where manual counting of products was usually followed. However, this manual approach was not only time-consuming but also susceptible to errors.

To address this challenge, we have harnessed the power of automation to revolutionize our warehousing processes. Automation, instrumental in streamlining and error-proofing our operations, has helped in product counting process resulting in eliminating inaccuracies and significantly enhancing efficiency. This transformation has not only bolstered our ability to identify and rectify any damage during the shipment process but has also allowed us to consistently deliver top-quality products and servicing to our customers.

In addition, we have introduced innovative solutions such as the ‘follow me’ cart, which serves to boost the first-time pick ratio. This advancement reduces our dependency on specialized human resources, optimizes working hours, ensures consistent quality, and enhances productivity within our warehouses.

These pioneering automation initiatives have translated into substantial productivity gains. We can now expedite product shipments from our warehouses, resulting in significantly improved overall productivity. This, in turn, benefits our customers, as they receive their orders promptly and with reduced error rates.

We remain dedicated to invest in automation and AI technology to elevate the efficiency and effectiveness of our warehousing solutions. We firmly believe that these technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of logistics in the FMCG sector. Our ‘Technology-enabled solutions’ are central to our mission to provide integrated supply chain solutions, meeting the evolving needs of our valued customers.”

Mr Pamidimukkala rightly emphasized the importance of understanding your warehouse operations before investing in technology. Mahindra Logistics has embraced technology as a cornerstone of its strategy, utilizing automation, AI, and cutting-edge tools to transform traditional warehousing practices. By streamlining processes, enhancing accuracy, and adopting smart storage techniques, they have not only improved operational efficiency but also empowered their customers to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving market. With a focus on optimizing inventory management and warehouse productivity, Mahindra Logistics sets a prime example of how technology-driven approaches can revolutionize the way goods are stored, managed, and delivered in the dynamic landscape of FMCG.

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