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Home>Automation>Automated storage>Towards a balanced warehouse

Towards a balanced warehouse

06 August 2020

The events of the last few years, including Brexit and COVID-19, have forced senior management to think very deeply about how best to develop their operations to cope with unforeseen uncertainties.

Productivity, process efficiency, speed of delivery, and last-mile delivery costs are the crucial factors that influence the growth and profit margins within the logistics industry. “The last six months, in particular, have been a wakeup call for us all,” enthuses Robert Brand-Smith, managing director at BS Handling Systems. “One of the keys to having a robust organisation that can handle these ‘black swan’ events is a more balanced, flexible warehouse or distribution centre operation.

“Automation is clearly a major factor, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all. When we design systems for our clients we look to have the right balance. As we move towards more ecommerce, the decision as to what to include in a logistics operation are often driven by throughput.

“Our work with clients such as ASOS, BMW, Boohoo, Clipper, PrettyLittleThing and Ted Baker has taught us the importance of having balanced operations. These include first-class manual systems, well-planned and accessible racking and shelving storage facilities, all supported by conveyors, automation and robots.”

Flexible solutions

“A feature of the internet economy is the speed at which growth can happen. As an integrator, one of our strengths is being able to deliver solutions which assist with growth and are flexible to the rapid ever-changing situations, whether that is regarding labour or supply and demand. “Recently there has been an explosion of new technology available for our industry and where appropriate, it is important to include this technology into warehouse systems. “Last year saw us enter a partnership with automation and robotic solutions provider, GreyOrange.

This strategic alliance enables us to help clients achieve greater performance and profitability whilst meeting evermore exacting delivery demands. “In the right environment, these solutions will help achieve faster fulfilment, increased volumes and higher levels of accuracy, all while lowering costs. Our decision to partner with GreyOrange was influenced by their technology and philosophy. The GreyOrange robots are engineered to last and learn. As you devise new applications and expectations, AI, machine learning and data analytics teach the robots to execute new or improved behaviours which continuously optimise performance. This perfectly supports our own philosophy of providing flexible solutions that can handle growth.”

The future

“There’s no doubt that the logistics industry is facing unprecedented challenges that require new thinking and balanced solutions. Brexit has the potential to severely impact the movement of goods into and out of the UK across all modes of transportation, and COVID-19 has had, and will continue to have, a major impact.

“Both challenge the industry to keep the UK economy supplied with all the goods it needs to function, and both impact the increased disruption to staffing levels, not to mention the ongoing concerns about the viability of businesses. “Careful planning of warehouse and distribution centre operations will help mitigate against these and other challenges that lie ahead. The important point is to make sure you have a balanced system that maximises your throughput and minimises your cost,” concludes Brand-Smith.
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