Warehouses are becoming more autonomous and this means that energy consumption is going up. With the current energy crisis organisations are looking into ways that can help them solve the problem. We spoke with Jon Brewin, Business Development Manager, Autostore UK & Ireland, at Deliver, one of Europe’s leading e-commerce events. You can read more content from Deliver below.
Jon, how do automation and the need to control energy usage go together?
With automation there will always be a focus on energy usage, particularly when there are a lot of mechanics involved. I think it is more about being smart with your solution choice so that the energy usage is more predictable and it can be managed efficiently. If you have complex systems with a lot of equipment, there is going to be high power consumption, so if you can think differently and keep the physical solution simple with smart software, then you can manage that energy consumption a bit more predictably.
Does this involve a lot of costs and is it hard to find the right way to do it?
No, I think it is about finding the right solution that would keep it simple so costs will be lower during operation. With Autostore, the operation is simple and the software is smart so it enables a low energy usage whilst keeping productivity high.
How do you think such solutions help the idea of sustainability and efficiency?
If you go back to predictability and look at a large distribution centre, that is a big space to heat, light and manage. If you can leverage smart automation in there, that can create a streamlined and predictable process, meaning you can use less space and be more productive.
Where are we going to go from now when it comes to automated solutions like Autostore, for example?
I think there is still space for centralised distribution or fulfilment centres that service stores and customers, however we are seeing a huge increase in more localised centres, where you can have a smaller footprint, enable more reactive operations and be closer to the customers. Dark stores where automation is key, will use data and software to streamline the processes rather than relying on a large labour force that just is not available.
If we are talking about micro-fulfilment and urban centres, is it easy to incorporate such solutions in an urban environment?
Absolutely! With Autostore we are able to typically store 4 times the amount of product in existing storage space, which enables stores to provide a more immersive experience for the customers where they can enjoy their shopping experience, rather than trying to squeeze all of the product range on to the shop floor.
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