It has become an old news that Covid-19 completely reshaped the supply chain but the effects of this are being felt now more than ever. The plans that were drawn during the first months of the pandemic are not taking shape and more companies have started to invest in automation in their warehouses and are looking at ways to get closer to the customer.
It is expected that the market of warehouse automation will continue to grow. In a recent interview with The Logistics Point Dr Christian Baur from Caja Robotics says: ‘The market of autonomous warehouse robots will further grow in 2022.’ The factors behind that are multiple: labour shortages, cheap money, and the general realisation investment is needed.
‘Ideally these would be micro fulfillment working with smaller consolidation centers but in 2020/2021 major retailers scooped up a lot of land to build these types of facilities making a major impact on the fabric of city life (for the worse). This may continue into 2022,’ says Sandra Rothbard from Freight Matters. Her prediction is that micro-fulfilment centres will play a bigger role this year and in the future as online shopping continues to expand.
Large micro-fulfilment specialists like Autostore also thing that growth is written on the wall. ‘We’re seeing a shift away from the larger, traditional, centralised distribution centres to a more local, highly-flexible, often smaller-scale operation,’ says Russell Holmes, Business Development Manager- UK & Ireland AutoStore in an interview for The Logistics Point.
One of the hardest questions, however, is where to start when looking to implement a micro-fulfilment and autonomous solution in your warehouse. For Dr Baur what needs to happen first is to identify the business case and why the organisation is looking at automation. The benefits of autonomous warehouse robots are many but they can only be fully realised when managers know what they want to achieve.
Sonal Chanana from Fizyr tried to debunk many of the myths surrounding micro-fulfilment and warehouse automation. She believes these solutions are not just for large companies and are not hard to implement. ‘Warehouse automation may seem like an overwhelming process, but it really is not one. Investing in an intuitive, easy-to-operate, and efficient technology can make daily operations more productive, even for small or mid-sized organizations,’ Chanana says.
So what is next? Well, it is not easy to predict with a 100% certainty but supply chain managers agree that micro-fulfilment is the new key to success. And if you are wondering where to start and want to hear others’ success stories why not join us on the 8th March for a day of micro-fulfilment insights? The Logistics Point is organising this free event for a second year with the support of Parcelly, Fizyr, Cranfield and more. You can register now!