Compare a modern, automated warehouse with a conventionally manual one. Which is cheaper, safer, faster, more accurate, agile, resilient or sustainable?

In my last column, I wrote about the importance of digitisation in our post-COVID world. The rise of e-commerce is placing new demands on 3PLs for efficient fulfilment services, more responsiveness to end-consumers and up to the minute information on transactions. All of this is driving automation in some warehouses, but not all operators are welcoming it. We need to know more!

So, to help answer these questions and understand how widely the sector is adopting these solutions, UKWA is working alongside the University of Bath’s Centre for Smart Warehousing and Logistics Systems, with a survey that will measure uptake and appetite for embracing technology across the sector. To make the survey meaningful, it is vital that as many companies as possible (UKWA members or not) provide their feedback.

Taking part in our survey will take no more than 10 minutes for businesses who do not currently have automation, 15 minutes for those who do. All respondents will have first (and free) access to the results of the research, enabling them to benchmark their position against peers, along with insights and advice on automation, aimed at improving performance and creating competitive advantage.

Anyone from the UK warehousing sector can take part, as long as you have something to say about the opportunities and perceived barriers relating to the adoption of advanced automation technologies in warehouses, which could include Robotics, Goods-to-Person systems, AS/RS, Automated/Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs), Automated/Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), Automatic Sortation or Packaging Equipment, Smart Shelving & Pallets, and more.

UKWA is keen to help support those eager to introduce automation into their operations and to understand why it’s not right for everyone. This project is an important part of our plans.

Warehouses are a significant part of most supply chains. Indeed, the efficiency of the warehousing sector directly affects the success of supply chains, so warehouse automation has become a crucial topic. Advanced technologies such as Automated Guided Vehicles and Cobots can change the nature of warehouse operations significantly, allowing more work to be achieved in less time and less space and even reducing the physical and mental stress on the humans who work with them. For the future success of our sector and the wider economy, it is vital that we understand and embrace these technologies where they are appropriate.

This research has both academic credibility and industry insight, being undertaken by Bath University, with the support of UKWA. We believe it will highlight the factors which affect adoption of warehouse automation and the implications for businesses.

To take part in this important industry survey, please follow this link:

Clare Bottle



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