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How the digitalisation of warehouses can enhance retailing and eCommerce dynamics

The eCommerce growth has shone the spotlight firmly on two fundamental requisites: speed and accessibility to a broad and wide range of products. eCommerce also creates spikes in systems, reaching crescendo levels at peak seasonal dates for retail that include Black Friday, Valentines, Easter and Christmas periods, etc.

The industry has moved swiftly to build capacity and find ways to optimise space to service those peaks. In such cases, the benefits of increased automation in picking, packing and sorting are more than obvious. E-commerce also creates spikes in systems, reaching crescendo levels at peak seasonal dates for retail that include Black Friday, Valentines, Easter and Christmas periods, etc.

Race to technology

Technology has not stopped innovating and there will be more areas along the supply chain that can be further automated in years to come. While the technology may be cheaper in a few years’ time, first mover advantage brings substantial rewards. There are also innovative business models such as Robotics as a Service (RaaS) that would allow them to dip their toes in without major investment.

Coping with omni-channels

Most retailers have reacted to the eCommerce growth by offering consumers the ability to purchase and receive delivery through any channel. This is apart from consumers visiting their bricks and mortar stores and purchasing in person and taking it away with them. This new norm is creating complexities in the supply chain as retailers adapt to provide faster deliveries and build new fulfilment centres to cope with the flows.

The solution

Our solution for the digitalisation of warehouses produces an accurate and up-to-date digital twin of operations across all sites so that managers have real-time access to everything that is happening inside warehouses dramatically improving operations.

This Warehouse 4.0 innovation blends a fleet of autonomous robots, with unique navigation, vision systems and AI that move in the warehouse without human intervention to carry out the digitalisation of the warehouse without investments in additional infrastructure.

This will:

  1. Perform quality check of goods at arrival. Robots will move around, detect labels, visually scan and instantly digitise all assets arriving at assigned warehouse doors. Robots will measure the pallets down to cm accuracy and record pallet conditions at acceptance/outbound for later insurance claims. Although assets arrive in different formats, this will not be a limitation, our solution scans difficult shapes that manual handling can’t cover.
  2. Create a real-time digital twin of the warehouse for optimal management of goods and space. Robots will autonomously move around forklifts and operators and will recognise and locate the pallets that are placed on shelves/ground and capture the volume they occupy as well as empty spaces. Collected data will be coupled with the Warehouse Management System to locate goods, and optimise shipments and space.

Learn more about robotics and automation in our white paper on how they revolutionise logistics and warehouse management:

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This company has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 849938