GLP, the global logistics specialist, has been demonstrating snazzy yellow robots to retailers during Expo Real, that operate seamlessly in fulfilment centres.
With pressure upon e-commerce retailers to manage staff costs but also realise ever-shorter delivery times starting from the moment a buy-button is clicked, solutions are needed to pick orders as quickly, accurately and efficiently as possible within logistics facilities.
Some retailers are still managing by employing thousands of workers at facilities, yet many wonder for how long that will remain sustainable, especially given wages tend to increase over time.
A video at GLP’s stand shows one facility near Shanghai where 4,000 people used to handle something like 400,000 items per day. Since the introduction of new machinery, however, those employee numbers have been slashed by almost three quarters. Not only is there the cost saving angle, but also the reduction in human error in the stock picking process.
For the first time in Europe, GLP is showcasing this yellow robot technology in what amounts to an extension of its business from construction, development and leasing of warehousing, to the investment in and leasing of technology to its occupiers.
The technology for these yellow robots on wheels involves many parts, including magnetic stripes to help them navigate. The combination of the material of the tracks they run on and wheels enables maximum velocity without crashing off. Then there is the wi-fi network that they are connected to.
At Expo, stands such as GLP’s show the future direction for certain asset classes, which in some cases involves fewer humans and more robots.