Interrogate your options
Automation in retail warehouses is not a new area, with more than 20 years’ experience by various retailers, but there has recently been a shift in the available technology, and broadly speaking there are two options.
The traditional, large-scale method involves typically a new site, with significant investment in storage and handling systems. Often, these systems use some form of goods-to-person system to remove walking time (as much as possible) from the process. They offer a very good future solution with significant reduction in operating costs, but can be capital intensive and typically take a number of years to install.
BearingPoint partner Emile Naus says, however, that automated systems have evolved significantly in recent years.
“We’ve seen the introduction of more modular systems that can typically be added to existing operations. There are a number of potential solutions, from shelf carrying robots to robots that accompany an operator as part of their pick assignment. These systems are typically lower investments, and sometimes are commercially offered as a rental solution.”
Emile Naus adds: “While the newer technology is more flexible than some of the traditional systems, care should be taken to ascertain the level of flexibility that is required. For instance, if the system uses totes to store or move products, the size of the products could have a huge effect on the efficiency of the system. If product dimensions are well known and not likely to change, that may not be an issue, but in a more dynamic environment, it could lead to significant challenges in the future.
“In terms of successful introduction of automation, it is key to be really clear on the objectives. What is the purpose of the operation, and how might automation support that? Too often, automation becomes the focus rather than the method of achieving the objective. Ultimately, automation works best if it is blended into the end-to-end operation, with a seamless integration of manual, semi-automated and fully automated systems.”
HSS to rebrand as Logistics Matters
Handling & Storage solutions (HSS) magazine is excited to reveal its rebrand as Logistics Matters from January 2023 - with a view to better cover the wide range of challenges facing the world of materials handling, supply chain, warehousing and logistics.
The content in Logistics Matters will not differ radically from HSS. Apart from the title, from January next year, the magazine will feel very much like an evolution rather than a revolution from the magazine you are accustomed to.
We want this is to be a journey we share with you and we would love to hear your feedback on the new magazine when it launches in January.
Why change? With a modern and more meaningful name, Logistics Matters can highlight the challenges faced by all warehouse occupiers and MHE users with one all-encompassing term, that covers all logistics functions, processes and premises and highlights all solutions that can help in an increasingly inter-connected supply chain.
Broader scope? Yes, the name change means we can more effectively tackle supply chain topics, with the core of content remaining focused on MHE and in-warehouse automation.
Why move to six issues per year? Remaining one of the few publications in the market committed both to print and ABC audits, focusing on six issues per year allows us to provide deeper content, taking a lead from the success of our Tomorrow’s Warehouse Special Report.
Topical coverage? We will send two e-newsletters per week to our robust database and keep content on the relaunched website fresh - www.logisticsmatters.co.uk
Lead generation? Our buzzing, insightful webinars and Safety in Logistics digital conference educate attendees on cutting edge topics and provide attendee and registrant leads to sponsors. See http://bit.ly/3RbfHm4
Face-to-Face? The Tomorrow’s Warehouse Event, with conference and exhibition space at the CBS Arena in Coventry, brings buyers and sellers together for a day of learning and networking that doesn’t cost the earth. See https://tomorrowswarehouse.live
To get involved with the new Logistics Matters, get in touch with our team today:
Neill Wightman, Sales Manager. firstname.lastname@example.org; DD: 01342 333725; M: 07818 574304