It’s standing room only for the presentation by Geek+’s Simon Houghton at IntraLogisteX – and the company’s stand has been a hive of activity all morning, too.
“The flexibility provided by logistics robots is changing the way we think of potential automation candidates,” says Houghton, Geek+ Head of Sales & Marketing, on day one of the exhibition. “Entry to full warehouse automation used to cost millions, but now, for example, a full goods-to-person robotic picking system could be introduced for a few hundred thousand, meaning that we have in addition to our larger customers we have now added SMEs as well to our customer base. Today, a warehouse does not have to have more than 100+ people employed to consider automation. I’d say any business which typically has 15-20 people could be a possible candidate.”
Broughton goes on to suggest that the events of the past year have accelerated the use of robotics in warehousing. “As most of us have got more comfortable ordering more and more items online, I believe that any business in and around the e-commerce distribution will continue to expand. In turn, any 3PL business that supports businesses in this space will also grow as there is an ever-increasing demand for more warehouse space and fulfilment services.”
“Up until now,” Houghton continues, “some 3PLs have always been reluctant to invest in traditional automation since they would have to design each system around their customer’s products, throughputs, and storage requirements and the previously high costs of traditional automation resulted in the 3PL having to lock their customers down to very long contracts up to 10 years to help recover the initial investment.
“As we know, based on recent events lot can change in even a very short timeframe so long-term contracts are generally not acceptable. With robotics-driven solutions that are much lower in cost, flexible, scalable, and adaptable to the ever-changing needs of the logistics business. They can help minimise the risks associated with large capital investments and allow for shorter contract terms since the system can be easily adjusted for new customers, allowing longer-term resilience.”
Geek+ is exhibiting at IntraLogisteX on Stand 430