Karl Johan, CEO and President of Autostore System, spoke to The Logistics Point about the future of automation and robotics in the supply chain.
What is the main goal of the Innovation Hub?
The main goal of the Innovation Hub is to provide our clients with access to the latest innovation and R&D programmes in robotic warehouse technology. By creating a testing hub that is adaptable to varied warehouse conditions – from extreme heat to earthquake situations, for instance – we are able to offer our clients a competitive market advantage without the prohibitive costs which would have been involved with multiple single-function warehouse spaces.
What retail warehousing challenges are you trying to solve with the Hub?
Over the last 12 months in particular, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration in the demands for robust robotics warehousing solutions across a number of different sectors – everything from grocery to medical supplies. As a result, we’re not only trying to solve existing retail warehousing challenges but also create an environment where we can confidently test for challenges which may have not yet arised. We expect there will be a continued focus on agility and space efficiency, but it remains to be seen where exactly future pressure points will emerge.
How do you think retail will change in the future?
We believe that demands for micro-fulfilment solutions will continue to accelerate and that there will be an increasingly noticeable gulf in the post-pandemic retail environment between companies that have invested in such solutions over the last 12 months, and those who have been more cautious. Ultimately, consumer trends towards shorter delivery times and tailored ecommerce solutions are here to
stay and retails must look to not only meet but exceed these expectations if they are to maintain their market share in the future.
What technology are you using in the Hub to monitor environmental changes and why is this important for retail warehouses?
In the temperature chamber, we have sensors to measure different environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. We can measure inside the grid in the room and, of course, inside the storage bin itself. The sensors are placed in different heights, and we have more than 150 sensors in a single test chamber. Using the information from these sensors, the chamber can be controlled and adjusted as needed to meet our requirements. ✷