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Reaching full potential, not limits

Article by Aisling Harrison

 

There is intensifying pressure on manufacturers, intralogistics and 3PL (third-party logistics) businesses to protect their supply chain and ensure order fulfilment.

Despite the warehouse being one of the most crucial links in the supply chain, it is reportedly feared that:

“The UK could run out of warehouse space within a year, as supply chain disruption and a boom in online shopping propel demand to record levels”, according to property agent Cushman & Wakefield*[1].

Additionally, research from Forrester Research states:

“By 2025, online retail will account for 35% of all retail, which means that at least 64m sq ft of additional warehouse space will be needed for that sector alone.”[2]

Although the biggest concern is space and accessibility, many other issues are plaguing the sector. These include everything from labour shortages to rising shipping container costs. Freight delays caused by everything from COVID to Brexit are hitting exactly when ecommerce consumer demand has never been higher.

Achieving more with less

Warehouses must adapt to work more efficiently with less labour and use space more strategically with increased stock at goods in, storage and despatch.

The concept of having to manage more with less is undoubtedly daunting. However, it’s exactly what all thriving warehouses are doing, to not just cope, but outrival the competition.

Creating an agile infrastructure

Business growth is an aspiration almost every organisation holds; however, there is a significant difference between growing and outgrowing. Reaching warehouse capacity prematurely will complicate and decrease the speed at which operations run and orders are fulfilled, as well as massively lower revenue.

Facilitating growth while also managing shortages and logistic delays is all about the agility of a warehouse’s infrastructure and how it is set out to ensure maximum productivity.

Investing in space

The immediate answer to lack of space might not be to expand your footprint. But forward-thinking organisations are taking a step back, assessing their strategy and exploring how automation can help unlock far greater efficiency from existing environments.

Storage stability

Autonomous warehouses ensure your team know exactly what is in stock, where it is, where it needs moving and when it will be moved. This level of data visibility enables businesses to forecast and make the most profitable business decisions confidently and accurately.

In the increasingly likely event of freight delays, automated warehouses are in a far better position to effectively manage stock that is unable to be despatched and prevent overcrowding. While the orders that can be despatched are 100% guaranteed to do so in full and on time.

Advancing your operations with automation

Knowing the challenges you face is one thing, but in the modern world, it’s no longer an option to just apply the traditional solutions and hope for the best.

Strategies need to be powered by data and based on the technological advances that forward-thinking warehouse operators are adopting.

Streamlining your goods-to-person, materials handling and production line efficiencies ensures your warehouse is always one step in times of uncertainty. Having the business intelligence and flexibility to continually make the best use of your warehousing space will be integral to the success of your operation.

Find out more here.

Meet our robots

 

Sources

[1] https://www.ft.com/content/c1e7b270-c6c6-4904-90a2-57f3e6ef963c

[2] https://www.savills.co.uk/research_articles/229130/315446-0

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