Automation and robotics - the future of sustainable logistics

Automation and robotics – the future of sustainable logistics

Since supply chains are typically responsible for 80% of an organization’s carbon emissions, companies feel pressure to decarbonize logistics, and technology is the single biggest enabler when it comes to achieving net zero goals.

However, the technology is more advanced in some areas than others. Take drones, for example. In May, Walmart announced the largest drone delivery system in the United States, in a move designed to give it a competitive advantage in last-mile delivery.

The retail giant is looking to expand drone deliveries to six US states. As many as 4 million households will be able to pick up groceries and supplies by remote-controlled drones by the end of the year, according to Walmart.

The company says it will charge $3.99 per drone delivery, with a weight limit of 10 pounds, and enforce the safety principle: “If it fits securely, it flies.”

according to David Guginasenior vice president of supply chain, innovation and automation at Walmart, participating stores will feature a drone delivery center, with a team of certified pilots “who operate within FAA guidelines and manage flight operations for safe deliveries.”

“Once a customer places an order, the item is delivered from the store, packaged, loaded into the drone, and delivered straight to their yard using a cable that gently lowers the packaging,” he adds.

Last-mile drone technology ‘not ready for widespread use’

But Walmart hasn’t specified exactly how its massive fleet of drones will negotiate airspace concerns, nor how the machines will be operated.

Brandon RaelBusiness Transformation Leader at Capgemini Invent says that while automation is the last-mile future, drone technology is not ready for widespread adoption.

“Robots, automation and eventually drones will be the new standard for supply chain execution capabilities,” he says. “Automation and robotics will be an absolute must to reduce cost of service, reduce inefficiencies, and improve operations.”

But Rael adds that for widespread adoption, drone technology needs to improve: “The drone delivery model requires more work. It is built around supply chain implementation innovation but will require a crawling strategy to implement safely, with regulations and policies.” correct.

He goes on to explain that, as drones become more advanced, socially acceptable, and most importantly safe, “we can expect the drone delivery model to expand and companies to invest in this space.”

Gugina says using Walmart drones is ‘an exciting ride’

But for his part, Gugina calls Walmart’s drone initiative “an exciting ride.”

“Having completed hundreds of deliveries in just a few months across our existing DroneUp centers, we have seen first-hand how drones can offer customers a practical solution for getting certain items quickly. More importantly, we have seen a positive response from customers who have used the service. We have been We thought customers would use the service for emergency items but have found that they are actually using it for their absolute convenience, like a quick fix for a night meal.”

As Rael pointed out, the technology is much more advanced in the areas of robotics and automation than in drones, so its adoption in warehouse environments is long-term, and it’s at a point where solutions can be widely adopted.

Warehouse automation has a history of 120 years

Warehouse automation dates back 120 years, to the first conveyors, while automated storage and retrieval systems were first deployed in the 1950s.

But with robots starting to appear in greater numbers than ever before, many of today’s warehouses are reminiscent of something out of a science fiction movie. Moreover, the pace of adoption helps companies control carbon emissions in the supply chain more effectively.

Gavin HarrisonUK Sales Manager with Warehouse Automation Specialist, element logicsays it’s the boom in e-commerce — along with the ever-increasing demand for faster online order fulfillment — that is driving companies to invest in warehouse automation technologies.

He notes that these same companies, along with their customers, are increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint and sustainability practices.

“This combination of factors has led companies to look to warehousing operations for opportunities to reduce carbon emissions within the supply chain,” says Harrison. “Warehouses are a natural place to start, because around 90% of them worldwide still rely on manual processes, which is an inefficient use of both space and energy.”

“The more a company relies on humans to operate its warehouse facilities, the more energy it needs — particularly in terms of lighting and heating.”

Robots in warehouses can do without heat and light

Harrison adds that more people also makes workspaces less efficient “because humans can’t work efficiently with highly dense warehousing systems in the same way that warehouse robots can.”

He points out that buying more warehouses, or commissioning new facilities that are too expensive to build, is neither sustainable nor necessary when flexible warehouse automation systems can help companies increase existing space.

“Many warehouse automation systems help companies save significantly on energy bills, while avoiding unnecessary carbon emissions,” says Harrison. “For example, autostoring robots use rechargeable batteries and self-generate as much power as they require.” The total energy use of ten car storage robots uses about the same energy as the average vacuum cleaner.

Harrison also states that using flexible, automated warehouse storage and retrieval systems allows companies to set up warehouse operations in non-traditional environments — like the back of a high street store — without compromising storage density. These small fulfillment centers, also known as “dark depots,” can operate without lighting.

“Some warehouse robots can operate in the dark without the need for heating, both of which obviously help reduce energy use.”

He concludes: “Another major advantage of opening small fulfillment centers is that they can be located in urban centers, much closer to the end customer. This makes last-mile delivery less dependent on ground transportation, as customers can pick up orders directly from the fulfillment center. Little “.

#Automation #robotics #future #sustainable #logistics

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *