In today’s supply chains, automation is inevitable. Automated systems are estimated to pick and pack orders up to 10 times faster than a human, and with fewer errors. Automation requires substantial capital investments that pay off only after a longer period of time – typically five years or more. Retailers tend to look for ROI between two and three years, and habitually focus on results over the next few quarters. What’s needed is a shift in mentality at management levels to accept longer ROIs, in order to make operations future proof.
This article was first published in the February 15th 2021 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.
KNAPP installed its Pick-it-Easy Robot system at Obeta, the German electrical supplies wholesaler. The robot has been operating for just over a year, working up to 14 hours a day. It currently handles 70% of pickable SKUs and picks with an accuracy of 99%, despite having to learn new items each week.
Both part of the same company group, Libri and BoD are relying on TGW’s innovative pocket sorter OmniPick. The German book wholesaler is benefiting from extremely fast lead times for express orders. An average of just 20 minutes is all it takes from when the books are produced until they are unloaded into the order tote. The highly automated system in the town of Bad Hersfeld in the German state of Hesse is scheduled to go live in autumn 2021.
LOGILEC, the logistics branch for E.Leclerc, was created in 1996 by the Mouvement E. Leclerc with the aim of controlling and organizing its supply chain. In 2018 and outgrowing their existing warehouse, LOGILEC approached Exotec whose robotic Ecommerce solution was an innovative system of 50 robots and 30,000 totes.
AMH Material Handling has a vision to support global smart logistics technology company Geek+ in establishing a fully automated and intelligent supply chain. Geek+ applies advanced robotics and artificial intelligence technologies to create solutions for industry. As e-commerce demands for faster, more flexible goods movement spiral upwards, warehouse and manufacturing operators face increasingly complex logistics and production challenges.
Broadwater Mouldings manufactures Safeglide constant velocity spiral chutes. The chutes require no operating power and have no moving parts. The unique design of Safeglide chutes ensures all items always move at a controlled speed of descent.
As the frequency of online shopping continues to grow, retailers need to think about how to ensure that customers who are now buying online, stay online, while keeping fulfilment costs down. To enable success, it’s time to use the benefits of automation to offer consumers more choice.