A new $16 million fully integrated storage and warehouse management system is expected to improve the health and safety of workers at Alliance Group’s Lorneville site near Invercargill.
The programme, the latest in a series of major investments planned for Lorneville, will introduce automation to the warehousing system and laser-guided vehicles for the storage and retrieval of frozen products.
A spokesperson said the technology being installed comes from Dunedin company Scott Technology, but there would be significant work for local companies as a result of the project.
Lorneville was the first Alliance plant to have the technology installed, but the company is exploring the feasibility of rolling it out to its other sites, the spokesperson said.
READ MORE:* Simon Bridges expresses need for migrant labour in Southland during visit * Alliance Group to spend $3.2m on its Lorneville plant * Alliance Group aims to future-proof Lorneville plant
Alliance group chief executive David Surveyor said the plants current frozen product warehouse operation was over 30 years old.
The Warehouse Management System will improve the health and safety of our people, enable the co-operative to further unlock advantages of scale and lift the efficiency and competitiveness of the plant.
Approximately 66 people are required to work in the operation during peak processing and manual handling of the fresh product. With each box weighing around 22kgs, this poses a risk of muscular skeletal injury to employees.
He said the new system would result in greater efficiencies and improved handling of cartons and product.
There will be reduced use of forklifts and fewer cases of conveyors jamming, which result in downtime in the further processing rooms. Frozen product boxes also do not stack well in the current system, leading to product damage and potential safety risks.
Alliance Group is spending $16m to install a fully integrated storage and warehouse management system for frozen products at its Lorneville site.
No jobs will be lost as a result of the project, which will be carried out in two phases over an 18-month period. Employees will be re-deployed to other areas of the plant.
The Lorneville plant employs up to 2000 people in peak season, where it processes sheep and deer. Later this year it will also start processing cows.
In July 2020, the company announced it was spending $3.2 million on safety features in the engine room, upgrading equipment and the building structure at the Lorneville site.
It also received a $2.8 million Provincial Growth Fund loan for its $4 million project to reconfigure the Lorneville venison processing plant so it could process beef.