Tech makes food storage faster, safer, smarter With the launch of the Cargill India warehouse for edible oils, ACCI adds one more high-tech facility to its pan-India network
The fact that Avvashya CCI (ACCI) is a specialist in warehousing solutions has been demonstrated once again. After setting up warehouses that are customised to meet the specific storage needs of industries such as e-commerce, pharma, automotive and chemicals, ACCI has opened its latest warehouse — an edible oil facility for multinational customer Cargill India in Kurkumb, western India.
The edible oil facility, which opened on 1 March 2019, is a first-of-its-kind in India; it utilises high-tech equipment that enables safe and smart handling and storage of food items. The warehouse is located at Cargill India’s Kurkumbh plant and meets all the guidelines for food item handling. Cargill India manufactures a number of edible oil brands and products including sunflower oil, soybean oil, olive oils, flavoured oils and vanaspati (a type of hydrogenated oil).
ACCI currently manages over 4 million sq feet of warehouse space spread across 14 locations in India. However V Raju, Vice President, Chemical, Food and Pharma division for ACCI, says that the Kurkumbh warehouse is a pathbreaker of sorts; ”This warehouse has been built by Allcargo inside Cargill India’s existing edible oil plant. It is connected to the existing packaging area of the plant. It complies fully with customer specifications and is an extremely high-tech warehouse with an automated storage and retrieval system and an imported Orbiter movement system.”
According to Mr Raju, ACCI was the best partner for the project. ”We were able to show Cargill India that we have the best technology for cargo storage systems; best processes for cargo handling, and trained and professional employees for managing the shop floor. In addition, we have engineering and construction competencies in our sister departments within Allcargo. The fact that we provide a one-stop solution tilted the scales in favour of ACCI.”
Warehouse management processes vary widely from industry to industry — the requirements of a food storage facility are very different from that of, say, the chemical facility that ACCI manages in Panvel. Says Mr Raju, ”Chemicals can be hazardous, flammable, etc, and there is a certification and compliance system that has to be followed for safe storage and handling. Edible oil is a food product and has its own set of standards for good manufacturing, distribution and storage practices.”
ACCI follows its own best practices in setting up a new facility. The approach involves multiple steps; Understanding the customer’s requirement, high-end feasibility studies, scoping and operational analysis, engagement with specialists for expert advice, etc. The Kurkumbh facility took about eight months to be set up and has been configured to stock approximately 7,200tonnes of oil at any given point of time.
The Kurkumbh warehouse has its own Warehouse Management System (WMS) which takes care of operations such as receiving of palletised goods from the plant, putting away the oil packets, order processing, pick list generation, picking, staging, loading, invoice generation, etc.
Mr Raju explains the automated process; ”At the inbound staging area, we use material handling equipment to receive the incoming cargo. The ground plus four racking system with Orbiter is used to stack the goods into the racks. When there is invoice generation for certain items, the WMS guides the equipment to pick up the goods from the racks, and these are then loaded onto trucks for distribution.”
As with all ACCI facilities, the Kurkumbh operation also follows the highest of safety protocols, including in-rack fire sprinkler system, fire hydrants, different types of fire extinguishers, CCTVs, smoke alarms, face and eye washers in case of accidents. All employees don personal protection equipment. The warehouse also enforces one-way movement and no-entry zones to avoid accidents within the space.
A showcase project for safe and hygienic handling of food products, Kurkumbh is a feather in the cap for ACCI.