What has changed is the retail landscape that automation is feeding. E-commerce has pushed £1 billion of investment into its operations in order to generate 70% of its revenues online.
“Covid-19 is now part of the operational landscape, and the emphasis is changing to managing the Christmas peak, Brexit, and longer-term capacity planning”.
(Jong, supply chain consultant at Logistics UK)
All the entire retails are changing, but not all sectors of retailers are affected the same way. Due to the limitations of the pandemic, online sales volumes have increased dramatically. So automation has had to be adopted, and the use of autonomous mobile robots (AMR).
We must take into account that retail companies must be agile and must have greater flexibility in changing methodologies and the way they use automation. About this, autonomous mobile robots offer the flexibility and scalability necessary to face this dilemma.
The New Automation
Recognizing this increase in demand, companies are forced to streamline their deliveries, as consumer expectations will follow these trends in all online purchases.
For retail companies that already had an online presence and an omnichannel model, moving from physical operations to e-commerce has helped reduce the negative impact of the lockdown and, in many cases, allowed companies to continue operating. The only downside for retailers would be capacity weaknesses from sudden grocery delivery order changes.
Consumer electronics, household goods, and healthcare equipment are sectors that have seen a large increase in demand during the lockdown period, with more people having the time and finance to invest in their homes, families, and well-being in recent months.
Brains behind brawn
It is recognized that customers will always expect exceptional levels of service. So automation will not drastically solve the problem for retailers. But, this medium allows distributors the ability to forecast product demand ahead of upcoming seasons, allowing retailers to make stock decisions ahead of time and keep trending items on the shelves when they sell fast.
“Businesses need to think about the future now more than ever before. We’ve survived a global pandemic that saw our supermarket shelves bare, delivery dates extended from days to weeks and even worse, businesses that didn’t make it out the other side. I think this has been a lesson for most businesses”.
(Roberts, Senior Sales Manager at OrderWise)
In the first weeks of the lockdown, a large number of traditional companies moved their operations to an exclusively online model. This shows us that with flexibility and agility, companies can benefit enormously.