The Philippines only fully automated cold chain storage facility proves that thoughtful design and innovative technology can ensure food security and supply chain continuity even during Typhoon Vamco.
SSI Schaefer, the global leader of warehouse and logistics solutions, and ORCA Cold Chain Solutions (ORCA), have given new meaning to disaster readiness in the Philippines with resource-efficient and resilient cold chain storage solutions.
According to the World Bank, the Philippines is one of the most natural hazard-prone countries in the world, with an average of 20 typhoons hitting this archipelago every year. Furthermore, a report by BSR revealed that over a third of food retail value per year is lost due to poor packing, storage systems and handling - further weakening preparedness for unforeseen events.
Natural disasters, such as the recent Typhoon Vamco, can lead to unexpected challenges such as fogging and rain seepage in loading bays, which in turn can cause sensor errors and affect supply chain continuity. Reducing the impact of these events is critical to sustainability, as well as food safety, accessibility, and availability in the Philippines.
"With over 7,600 islands and the prevalence of natural disasters, the Philippines' food logistics presents a challenge that surpasses many other neighboring countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the stress on the nation's food supply chain management.
As unforeseen events increase in the face of rapid urbanization and climate change, Food & Beverage and supply chain leaders must develop robust networks to prepare for the unexpected," said Xavier Perello Pairada, Senior Vice President, Regional Head APAC & MEA, SSI Schaefer.
Opened in February 2020, ORCA Taguig is the Philippines' first fully automated cold chain storage facility. The facility contains 20,000 pallet positions of frozen storage racks in roughly a hectare footprint - an unprecedented feat made possible with SSI Schaefer's rack-clad technology. A rack-clad high bay warehouse is more resistant to disasters, which in turn ensures greater food security and capacity for the Philippines food industry.
"Since the Philippines is a typhoon and earthquake-prone country, ORCA has always prepared for the worst-case scenario at every stage of business operation, starting with the design phase. From the very beginning, the vision for ORCA was to be a world-class game changer - and that includes disaster-preparedness. That is why we chose to work with SSI Schaefer to bring this type of innovation and industrial automation to the Philippines. What we have built together with SSI Schaefer is the first of its kind in the Philippines: an efficient, resilient warehouse racking system that ensures access to food even in the face of uncertainty," said Yerik Cosiquien, President & CEO, ORCA Cold Chain Solutions.
ORCA Taguig's pallet conveyor systems use SSI Schaefer's Automated Storage Retrieval System (ASRS) automation technology to move pallets of food using cranes, with minimal-to-no-human intervention. Together, the warehouse automation system improves food safety, manages revenue loss through spoilage, creates a safer work environment and ensures continuity when unforeseen events occur.
The facility also uses SSI Schaefer's proprietary inventory management system software WAMAS® to oversee inbound and outbound pallets in the facility. Thanks to real-time data, the automated system provides instant recommendations on the type of truck to best move products, which is essential during outages or when warehouse storage and logistics systems become inaccessible.
In addition to incorporating industry-leading automation technology, ORCA has introduced several protocols to ensure the company is prepared to face future calamities. The management team is always on alert in the wake of a natural disaster, and an emergency task force is mobilized days before an expected typhoon to ensure that all systems and measures are in place and ready for any potential scenario. ORCA has also introduced a triple backup system to ensure continuity should secondary backup systems fail. By combining SSI Schaefer's warehousing and logistics solutions with robust processes and plans, ORCA is well-equipped to continue supplying the nation with access to food in the face of events such as Typhoon Vamco.