By: Brian C Neuwirth of Unex Manufacturing
The craft beer business is booming, In 2013 sales grew by 18% and the continued growth now comes from over 2,700 U.S. breweries. With growth comes an introduction of new SKUs and suppliers which presents a unique opportunity for beer wholesalers. According to the NBWA, in 1996 the average beer distributor carried 190 unique SKUs from an average of nine different beer suppliers. By 2010 that number had ballooned to 536 SKUs from 18 different beer suppliers. Most estimates place the average SKUs today in the thousands. SKU proliferation has had a widespread impact on warehouse operations and is leaving beer wholesalers asking what can be done to accommodate this 10-fold increase in SKUs? There is the opportunity for increased revenue derived from a larger product offering but the challenge of being able to store these products efficiently in a warehouse that was designed to house 190 SKUs.
The first thing to do is to analyze your product mix based on throughput to determine the best storage method Your slow to medium moving kegs (or cases) should be stored on keg racks. Keg flow is a wonderful space and cost-saving alternative to palletized storage. A 1/6 keg can be stored in much the same manner as you would store cases, on a flow rack. For example, in this picture