RUBB

Welcome to the August 15th issue of Warehouse & Logistics News. Our news pages highlight that there is plenty to celebrate at present. One example is online electricals retailer AO creating 250 new jobs at its logistics hub in Crewe. The huge recruitment drive has been launched to manage the sustained demand created by customers turning to AO following the Covid-19 lockdown which has led to a shift from high street retail to online.

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Rob Fisher, show director of IMHX, points out that logistics organisations have been on the frontline since the very beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, keeping shelves stocked, PPE supplied to the NHS and critical production lines running. As consumers, some for the first time, experienced the benefits of having goods and food delivered direct to their front door they have turned to online purchasing in record numbers. This has placed additional pressure on retailers, their e-commerce models and fulfilment centres stretching some to breaking point. For many logistics service providers, this meant hiring more staff and reconfiguring workplaces to ensure that picking and packing could be done in a way that was not only efficient but also allowed social distancing rules to be followed. In the face of the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit, there is no doubt logistics companies will adapt, persevere and carry on with the job at hand. While developments such as Brexit pose risk, UK operators are staying the course by accelerating their plans to automate facilities and accomplishing incredible feats in warehouse robotics.

Talking of robotics, our cover story highlights that OW Robotics (OWR) has launched Europe’s first Robotics Demonstration Centre for customers and businesses looking to transform their warehouse, logistics and manufacturing operations through automation. Based at OWR’s Lincoln HQ, the centre allows UK businesses to replicate their processes within a sandbox environment, so they can get first-hand experience and insight into how a tailored automated robotics solution would impact their business. This gives business leaders a clearer understanding of how it will meet their requirements, the scalability of a robotics system and how it can reduce training, safety, recruitment and absence costs as well as improve picking rates and accuracy. All before making an investment.

Our conveying and sortation says one consequence of the lockdown is the increased demand for online shopping. Not only has the overall volume of online shopping traffic increased but there is also greater demand for packages of different sizes. This means sortation conveyors have a critical role to play in the modern warehouse. There is a vast array of conveyors on the market and operators may struggle to know which one to choose.

The return to the workplace after lockdown gives businesses the opportunity to improve efficiency, reduce costs and save lives, our fork lift trucks feature claims. The rules for returning to work may focus on keeping a safe distance to prevent infection but this approach can also prevent accidents, especially to pedestrians working in close proximity to forklifts.

Enjoying reading the issue.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

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