Superdry in large-scale robot implementation at distribution centre
Superdry has boosted the use of robots in its British distribution centre with the company installing 46 Hikrobots in the Burton-on-Trent centre this spring after a pilot project with just six of the robots in 2018.
The use of robots in distribution hubs has been growing in recent years and the current coronavirus crisis could see demand for them expanding as their use could help to boost social distancing for human staff. The downside, of course, is that they also mean fewer human job roles within distribution centres.
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport reported the news saying that the expanded operation will be responsible for picking and putting away womenswear for retail, e-commerce and wholesale.
More than 80,000 sq ft of the warehouse is being given over to the robot operation that also includes QR codes on the floor for the robots to follow.
The distribution centre is operated by Clipper Logistics and the 2018 trial also led to the deployment of 20 of the robot carriers in January in the distribution centre run by the retailer’s Belgian logistics partner.
Gordon Knox, director of logistics at Superdry, said: “The adoption of robotics has come about through a requirement to cut operating costs and to reduce our reliance on labour. The headcount we needed to attract during peak periods was resulting in us having to adjust our pay structure beyond what we ideally wanted to pay. To increase outbound capacity, it wasn’t just a matter of hiring 10 more pickers, it was a case of ramping up other activities, such as replenishment, to support those additional pickers.”
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