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Automation is Key for Food Supply Chains Amid Labor Shortage

As Covid-19 restrictions loosen, consumers are returning to bars, restaurants, and other dining places. This is adding new strains in food supply chains.

The Wall Street Journal reports distributors are facing shortages of everyday products like chicken parts, as well as difficulty in finding workers and surging transportation costs as companies effectively try to reverse the big changes in food services that came as coronavirus lockdowns spread across the U.S. last year.

Supply-chain executives say the lack of available workers may be the biggest strain on the sector since the impact cascades from the production facilities to trucking to distribution centers.

Automation is the Answer

Pandemic or not, worker shortages will happen. It’s an ever-present challenge and can have far reaching consequences for your business. 

This is why industries, from food and beverage to pharmaceuticals and agriculture, are exploring automation and automated storage and retrieval systems. 

And, investing in automation, even if your workforce is strong, can only increase your overall productivity by supporting your employees, keeping them safe, and improving accuracy and efficiency. 

Solutions to Keep You Moving Forward

McMurray Stern offers a variety of ASRS solutions that can operate under the harshest conditions. These solutions can safely operate in places your workers can’t and fill in the gaps should your company ever experience a labor shortage.

The Lift & Run

This latest ASRS technology requires little energy and works seamlessly in small spaces, allowing you to cut costs, enhance your throughput, and increase your storage capacity. It is designed for both cold and deep-freeze applications (great for food and beverage distribution) and runs on two rails. It does not require any upper guide rails. So you can stack similar devices on top of the Lift & Run to meet your specific requirements! 

When stacked, the feed-in and retrieval of the pallets is done via vertical lifts; the system can be effectively heightened and the efficiency of the logistic solution can be increased. Thanks to high dynamics, small space requirements and efficient use of energy, The Lift & Run is an interesting alternative to the common pallet SRM for many applications.


Carousel systems enable highly efficient storage and picking processes in the smallest possible space. Carousels are an outstanding solution for handling small parts along with medium to slow-moving products including retail, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, electronics components, media, and food items.

Vertical Lift Modules

Vertical lifts are the ideal storage solution for products, components, and small items. Many retail and grocery companies have chosen our lifts to help organize and improve their workflow, thanks to their flexibility, wide range of models available, superior design, and ease of use.

Shuttle Systems

Our cuby and flexi shuttle system options are ideal automated storage and retrieval solutions that can be used in a variety of different industries, enhancing storage efficiency. The cuby reliably moves containers and cartons weighing up to 35 kg, while the flexi shuttle uses a modular concept, combining shuttles, lifts, and a racking system. This allows for flexibility, space optimization, and high levels of technical performance.

Pouch sorters

Pouch sorters and carriers enable the accumulation, buffering, distributing, and sorting of goods. Pouch sorters have high throughput, are low maintenance, and have universal usage for goods weighing up to 3 kg. You can connect various secondary load carriers to this adapter manually or as a fully automated system.

Let’s Talk!

Automated solutions can only better prepare your supply chain for tomorrow’s challenges. Whether your operation is big, small, or somewhere in between, McMurray Stern can find a solution to meet your needs.

If you liked this McMurray Stern article, you may also like: 

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