May 01, 2020

Leveraging Automation for Increased Efficiency and Capacity

It’s no secret that warehouses and distribution centers value efficiency.

With rising labor costs and industry growth, companies are looking for ways to increase productivity and decrease long-term operating costs. Rapid shifts in the market and the growing popularity of robotics, present a dynamic solution for manufacturing and warehousing facilities wanting to maximize space and output.

Striving for Efficiency

A wholesale pet food ingredients supplier was looking for a cost-effective way to increase the performance of their current inventory retrieval system. This semi-automated product required redundant forklift travel to feed the system, resulting in high labor costs, expensive equipment maintenance, and product damage.

Not only did the current system create bottlenecks in their process, but it also resulted in unwanted downtime and loss of production.

Leveraging Pallet Shuttle Automation

Working closely with the customer’s Operations Team to retrofit the existing retrieval system, Riekes proposed a fully-automated Pallet Shuttle system. This simple and cost-effective “Omni-Directional” automated storage and retrieval system works within the racking system they already have - improving productivity and eliminating redundant manual labor in the picking process. The investment to fully-automate their system will see an ROI at the end of year two - reducing labor costs by $692,463 for this facility.

Expanding Capabilities

During the planning phase for their processing facility, the customer revealed they were opening a second location in Omaha. They recognized the expansion as an opportunity to set up the new facility for maximum storage capacity and performance using automation. Think: bigger, faster, and more accurate.

Riekes worked with the customer’s Leadership Team from the beginning to design and implement a fully-automated Pallet Shuttle system for their new warehouse. This system includes a racking system with a capacity of 5,000 pallets and seven million pounds of storage. It will run 50 lanes deep and be managed by two shuttles - reducing their projected labor costs by 50% and increasing workplace safety.

Learn how leveraging automation saved a Nebraska-based wholesale ingredient company over $2.8 million in the first five years in our most recent case study.

The Pallet Shuttle system is a dynamic solution that takes inventory management to the next level. Allowing the warehouse floor to run autonomously, facilities can maximize storage density and eliminate wasted aisle space to achieve optimum output.


Leveraging automated retrieval systems, like the Pallet Shuttle, allows companies to place and retrieve inventory with precision, accuracy, and speed. With reduced downtime and less redundant manual labor, the Pallet Shuttle system improves warehouse efficiency which is key for achieving profit margins and managing long-term operating costs.

If you’re struggling with misplaced inventory, picking errors, or capacity obstacles, it’s time to consider automation. The Pallet Shuttle system can be customized to any existing process and facility. It’s low-maintenance and works for several different applications, including automated cold storage.

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