“Our long term partnership with RTS extends well over ten years. We’ve always found the team to be reliable and prompt with any call outs. They also consistently deliver quality solutions on time”
John Barnett, Operations/Logistics Manager, Murray Goulburn Supply Chain
Murray Goulburn Co-operative was formed in 1950 and has since grown to become the largest processor of milk in Australia and the nation’s largest exporter of processed food. With eight manufacturing plants located throughout Victoria, Murray Goulburn processes over 35% of the nation’s milk supply into quality products which are sold in both domestic and export markets.
With the success of Murray Goulburn’s Global Distribution Centre in Footscray and the growth of the business tripling in size over a nine year period, a decision was made to expand storage space for milk powder and consolidate with cheese, spreads, butters and UHT for distribution purposes.
In February 2003, Murray Goulburn opened the Integrated Logistics Centre (ILC) in Laverton, costing $56million. Including over 80,000sq metres storage space, provided a consolidated approach to supply chain management allowing them to semi-automate the control of inventory and ensure the quality of product was accurately maintained.
This encompassed dry storage space for 50,000 double width pallets of milk powder, as well as 24,000 pallets of refrigerated and 12,000 pallets of ambient product.
Murray Goulburn had a specific requirement for the ILC site to be pedestrian free, which would support their business philosophies on ensuring the quality and safety of their products and staff are maintained at all times. After identifying the specific requirements together, RTS were asked to develop and supply a technology solution which would:
- Automate access for cars and trucks entering and exiting the site
- Direct traffic to the correct loading bays
- Notify forklift drivers of trucks entering the site
- Remotely access doors
- Provide RF terminals for stock control
RTS Solution for Murray Goulburn
Murray Goulburn had partnered with RTS on many warehouse projects across Victoria over the course of 10 years. With confidence in RTS and a proven delivery track record, RTS were engaged to provide a fully automated solution for the new ILC.
RTS developed a custom built dual-level kiosk system which was suitable for both cars and trucks entering the site. The driver types the vehicle registration into the system or scan an RFID card, which is linked into the warehouse management system to confirm secure entry into the site.
On confirming the vehicle identity, the truck driver is able to view all details of the proposed delivery destination and the system instructs the driver to either go to the first weighbridge or a warehouse dock in real time.
The system then directs the forklift driver to meet with the truck driver at the designated loading dock. At this stage the driver would have already opened the warehouse doors remotely from the radio terminal mounted on the forklift.
The truck is quickly unloaded or loaded and products scanned directly into the warehouse or onto the truck. The truck will then proceed around the site to the exit weighbridge. The truck is then weighed and despatch personnel then sign paperwork allowing the driver to exit the site. The whole delivery process is automated, to the point where it may only be a final signature by the despatch personnel that is required. Additionally, this whole process is efficiently achieved without anyone placing a foot on the ground.
Additional features of the RTS kiosks include a video telephone for communication with the despatch office and RFID proxy cards to provide automated access for vehicle entry. This whole process initiates an audit trail for each and every person that enters the site. 29 forklifts, two pallet movers and the container stacker now all have RF equipment installed to manage 86,000 ambient and temperature controlled pallets. With a focus on safety all forklifts have the RTS immobilizer product installed, which disables terminal keypad entry and barcode scanning whilst the forklift is in motion, requiring the operator to be fully stationary before data can be keyed into the radio terminal.
RTS also worked with the entry gate manufacturer assisting them to integrate the gate control system back into the warehouse management software via an RTS custom developed door and gate controller.
This whole process initiates a number of functions on the site including: informing the warehouse system that they are about to receive stock, verifying and confirming the driver is able to access the site, opening the entry gate, directing the driver to the correct loading and unloading area and advising the forklift driver to meet the vehicle. All of this process occurs automatically, without any human intervention other than at the final dispatch stage.
Murray Goulburn and RTS continue to work together developing many value adding products to further improve warehouse efficiencies across all Murray Goulburn sites.
Cold store and ambient RTS RF terminal, RTS IMS2000, remote door controlling, access kiosks, real time weighing integration (container stacker and weigh bridge)