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Logistics depends not just on warehousing, but on people and the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted this dependency more than ever before. So how can storage and retrieval processes benefit from further automation, and remove human risk factors? Michelle Mooney reports. Good logistics needs property, transport and people. That truth was put to the test in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic when, faced with the inability to use that crucial third pillar – people – in an effective way some logistics operations were forced to close. For years automation has been the way to remove humans from the process, eliminating pesky practices like boredom or fatigue or sleeping or family life from the movement of goods – particularly those bought online – in the warehouse. This is especially prevalent when it comes to storage and retrieval. Andrew Hoyle, head of automation at Wincanton says: “Automation of storage and retrieval is particularly key to high speed operations demanded by the online sales world, especially where customer service is measured by product availability and the ability to meet challenging delivery cut-off times. “The heart of any fulfilment system is the capability to efficiently manage inventory into the optimum format and store goods ready for fast processing. For smaller products in particular, this could mean using an automated shuttle system or an autostore-style robotic-led storage system.” So, if you can successfully integrate an automated processes, you want it to work as hard as possible, and after coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, we will begin to see what the “new normal” actually consists of, says Jim Hardisty, MD at Goplasticpallets.com. “I suppose like any asset you need to make it work as hard as it possibly can, so throughput will be the key, and even more so in the “new” normal […]
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