Warehouses are the "efficiency centers" of the Food and Beverages (F&B) industry. However, handling a high number of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) in the limited warehouse space remains as a daunting challenge for players in the industry. Headquartered at Kearney, NE, Cirrus Tech addresses this challenge by automating the movement, selection and placement of SKUs, with an intelligent set of tools. “We are an integration company providing best-in-class software, hardware, and automated solutions to warehouses or distribution centers,” says Darrell Dunham, President. With nearly two decades of experience in hardware integration and warehouse automation solutions, Cirrus prides in its long-lasting relationship with clients in food/beverage, retail, boxed beef and other industries.
At the core of Cirrus’ automation solutions is the Warehouse Control System (WCS) software that automates the movement of products of conveyor and other equipment throughout the Hybrid Case Picking System (HCPS), which manages the placement of goods and pallets in a crane, called the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS). The crane ASRS allows warehouses to utilize the vertical space, thereby enhancing the storage capacity by nearly 60 percent, which guarantees faster Returns on Investment (ROI). All activities of WCS and ASRS are controlled by Cirrus Warehouse Management System (WMS) that manages the inventory, simplifying reconciliation. This leads to greater optimization of warehouse processes, which Dunham describes as the key to the company’s resounding success. “Our state-of-art technology solutions fulfill the customer's business process needs, saving them time and money in the long run,” notes Dunham.
Cirrus adopts a ‘6C pledge’ featuring Consultative, Customized, Communication, Candor, Completion, and Commitment, to deploy solutions at the clients’ site.
The company acts as a consultant to customize solutions; and the completion of a project is followed by a commitment to provide 24/7 high quality support to the new processes until the clients get accustomed to them. “Cirrus Tech typically stays longer on site after going live, to grant customers the best opportunity for success out of the gate,” says Dunham. The commitment has won Cirrus several customers in the beverage sector, especially the beer wholesalers.
Dunham mentions the case of Eagle Distributing, a distributor of Anhueser- Busch, craft beer, wine and spirits, and Red Bull in Shreveport, LA. To address their warehouse capacity constraints, Eagle was in the process of planning a new warehouse. Engaging with the client, Cirrus removed the heavy investment on warehouse expansion. The deployment of first generation ASRS combined with a high-density pallet storage design, enhanced Eagle's warehouse capacity to accommodate an extra 1300 pallets. Also, the automation of receiving, storing and replenishment of products brought down the overhead, by reducing the need for physical counting of bottles. The number of forklifts required to place the bottles in the pallets were also reduced. Further, Eagle could depreciate the system fully in 7 years, which gave them a faster ROI. Eagle’s fruitful partnership with Cirrus continued with the deployment of the second generation ASRS in another AB wholesaler and two Miller/Coors wholesalers, with innovative features like a cart system which is twice as faster and efficient with pallet movement.
The company’s latest innovation happens to be Cirrus Directed Picking System (DPS), which addresses the concerns of voice picking. DPS eliminates the scope for missed or inaccurate picks, by performing a verification scan at the pick location. This not only brings in a new level of accuracy but also minimizes expenditure. The DPS along with Cirrus’ other offerings like WCS, WMS and ASRS have already interested the brewers and bottlers apart from beer wholesalers. The company intends to serve them all well by keeping its core focus of the 6C’s pledge intact. “It encompasses everything we are committed to. We have found this is the best way to maintain our excellent customer partnerships,” concludes Dunham.