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Agility focus for Tomorrow’s Warehouse 

11 November 2021

If navigating this turbulent time has taught us anything, it's that agility could just be the most critical characteristic of your warehouse operations, says Harry Watts.

IN TODAY'S market, warehouse and DC operators are being compelled to simultaneously hold a higher volume and more comprehensive range of stock, dramatically increase the speed and accuracy of deliveries, as well as contribute towards our fight for sustainability. Customer demands are ever-changing, ranges ever-growing and the market seemingly endlessly unstable - driving the need for agile, modern warehouses.

Unfortunately, the weight of modern logistics has caused traditionally designed warehouses to buckle, and in some cases, fail to provide the performance necessary for current consumer needs. Fortunately, contemporary warehouse design, leveraging modern technologies, has created the opportunity for solutions that better utilise space, resources and can significantly improve service performance. However, these more sophisticated solutions require a more scientific approach to design that requires a detailed analysis of operational data.  

At SEC, we leverage operational data through our bespoke, artificially-intelligent analytical tools and virtual twinning technology. Through our AI-assisted design process, we consistently produce innovative solutions that are more efficient, effective and flexible than alternatives. These designs are created with future growth, demand changes and potential disruptions in mind and provide the necessary agility within the physical warehouse solution to ensure operations will remain efficient should market conditions change.

Furthermore, the ongoing analysis of operational data allows us to continually optimise the performance of our systems, installed at a customer's facility, over time. This continuous assessment of the operational profile of a business allows them to remain agile, ready to upscale or alter operations to deal with changes to consumer demands or kinks in the supply chain and ensure available product lines can be accessed as efficiently as possible for picking and despatch, with minimal disruption.

For one fashion retailer, our solution offered a complete redesign of the entire warehouse and operational principles, almost eradicating the use of pallets in the process. This system better matched their recent move towards carton-in, carton-out activities rather than their historical pallet-in, pallet-out methodology. 

However, the most significant innovation for this award-winning solution was the inherent agility of the design. This manifested itself as a precisely engineered solution that could be rapidly altered from static to dynamic storage, allowing a switch from a carton-in, unit-out with a wide range of SKUs emphasis, to a carton-in, carton-out, and more focused product range business model, which Brexit and supply chain disruptions could completely redefine at short notice. The system's modular nature meant that, if required, the solution could be doubled in capacity in as little as four weeks while maintaining productivity levels at near-total capacity.

This example showcases just how the effective use of data can be transformative in a logistics setting, both on an operational and sustainability level, with design solutions built upon sustainable principles to intelligently use space and power to reduce environmental impact.

As we look forward to being part of the Tomorrow's Warehouse event on 30th November, there is no better time to tackle the operational challenges we face and showcase just how, through data-driven intelligent warehouse design, we can safeguard our industry long into the future. 

Harry Watts, managing director, SEC Group

For more information, visit www.sec-storage.co.uk