The explosion in internet shopping here and in Europe has placed exacting demands on warehousing and dispatch operations and revolutionised their use of conveyors, sortation and packing systems.

With next day delivery now standard and same day delivery increasing in popularity, the productivity of dispatch operations is absolutely vital to the success, if not the very survival, of many businesses.

Dispatch productivity challenges bring very specific demands, particularly with small items. By introducing automation, costs can be cut significantly, service levels increased and the footprint of these vital operations reduced.

The outlay for automated pick, pack, sortation and dispatch solutions can be considerable, but the returns are spectacular, with systems helping reduce costs and increase service levels. It comes down to being clear about the scope of your project and choosing a compatible supplier partner to meet your needs, both now and as your business grows.

Looking at the leading vendors, the global company Swisslog often appears in our pages. One of their recent high profile contracts was for Texet Benelux, who commissioned Swisslog to transform their warehouse in Aarschot, Belgium. Texet is a major supplier of quality workwear and promotional textiles, but also offers design, customization and personalisation of the products kept in stock in Aarschot. To optimise its logistics processes, Texet decided on a Swisslog AutoStore automatic storage and retrieval system, with 30,000 storage bins, 18 robots, and 6 workstations for the infeed and order picking. The solution is controlled by Swisslog’s cloudbased SynQ WMS.

For expanding businesses wanting more of a bespoke service, British-owned, Tamworth-based Axiom GB are specialist designers, manufacturers, installers and maintenance providers of sortation systems, conveyors and mechanical handling systems, and pride themselves on helping reduce costs and increase service levels. Axiom has created tailored solutions for large and small retailers and e-tailers, with blue chip clients including ASDA, Superdrug, Vodafone, JD Williams, Lakeland and BT.

Founded in 2003, DistriSort are system integrators for sorting solutions based on EuroSort’s sorting machines and provide a full-service solution from project preparation, through building and delivery to implementation.

DistriSort’s order book includes solutions for e-commerce and bricks and mortar retail, for incoming and outgoing goods, cross docking and returns, either separately or in combined systems. Finally, in today’s high volume ecommerce operations, conveying and sortation goes hand in hand with automated packing systems.

Storopack’s perfect protection systems are used in a host of industries including automotive, ecommerce, the food industry, pharmacy, technology, and biotechnology. The paper pad system produces cushioning pads in seconds directly at the packing station, delivering highly effective padding while using less material. The volume of the paper pads can also be adjusted, making it ideal for shipping packages up to 50 kilos. It can also be used for more delicate items such as spare parts, electronic components and ceramics.

BILL REDMOND

Features Editor