Warehouse Automation and Mechanisation
With continuing pressure on warehouse labour costs and availability, interest in warehouse automation and mechanisation continues to increase.
As warehouse automation consultants, we help companies with automation projects to:
Evaluate the appropriate level of automation / mechanisation
- We will engage with the client to understand the business strategy and how the logistics strategy, including warehouse automation; can best support delivery of the strategy (e.g. cost vs service trade-offs, late cut-off aspirations, order collation etc.)
- Our warehouse automation consultants will undertake an operational review of existing facilities, while in parallel analysing business data to understand the product range, material flows, stock and order profiles.
- We will observe current processes, layout, equipment, systems and resources used and comment appropriately.
- Based on our experience of warehouse automation, associated capital and operating costs we will give a view on whether automation is likely to produce a satisfactory payback in financial terms, and what other advantages and disadvantages it may bring.
- We will suggest specific examples of warehouse automation and mechanisation that may work well in the operation (or a new operation) and give indications of capital costs and the effect on operating budgets.
Requirements definition and Support to Concept Design
- Our warehouse automation consultants will fully define the client’s requirements for warehouse automation equipment and systems
- We will undertake a concept design and / or work with equipment vendors to do so, bringing to bear our experience and analytical approach
- Outputs will include warehouse sizing, layout, CAD drawings, capital and operating cost schedules, proposed systems and processes
- All the details required to achieve board sign-off of business case
Vendor selection and engagement
- We will advise on appropriate vendors to approach
- We will engage with vendors on behalf of clients to ensure good communications – increasing vendor engagement is key to getting a good automation solution at a competitive price
- We will run a warehouse automation vendor selection process using procurement best practices and avoiding the confusion that often occurs when clients try to assess competing offers
- We will provide continuity of support through the detailed design process
- Our warehouse automation consultants will provide support to the Functional Design Specification process for Warehouse Control System (WCS) and Warehouse Management System (WMS), acting as a bridge between Operations, IT and vendor stakeholders
- We will act as ‘The Engineer’ under the MF/1 (or similar) contract
- We will deploy an experienced Programme Manager to deliver the programme, typically including several workstreams (e.g. Operations, IT, People, Building, BAU)
- Our Programme Manager will set up a suitable governance structure, including steering committee; risk management framework; issues, action and decision logs
- Our senior level consulting team members will retain involvement in a design authority role, attending project steering group meetings to ensure objectivity and continuity
Our Warehouse Automation Consultants and Programme Managers are experienced in technologies such as:
- Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) including single, double and multi-deep pallet storage, carton / tote storage in mini-load and shuttle systems
- Goods to person picking
- Vertical lift / carousel
- Zone picking
- Bomb bay sorters, cross-belt sorters, shoe sorters, pocket sorters
- Pallet and carton conveyor systems
- Pallet lifts, lowerators etc.
- Automated carton erection
- Crate / tray washing
Our specialist warehouse automation consultants are experienced in delivering warehouse automation and mechanisation projects across general merchandise, fashion, FMCG, food and industrial sectors.
Recent and current project include:
- New build, large scale e-commerce fulfilment centre
- European online retail DC
- Automation of material flows in a bakery
- Automation evaluation and implementation advice in a major meat packing factory