Taking insights to the warehouse
18 August 2023
Attendees benefited from a packed programme at Tomorrow’s Warehouse, as speakers shared insights on implementing large scale automation, integrating AI tools into operations, and much else. If you attended, thank you for being there. We look forward to seeing you next year.
THE AIM of Tomorrow’s Warehouse was to help answer warehouse operation people answer their queries and take new insights back to the warehouse to help them improve outcomes. The conference saw more than 300 people attend and they enjoyed the benefit of a crack team of experts covering a variety of key issues in the warehouse.
The event was also home to more than 45 top drawer exhibitors, offering solutions to even the most complex and intractable problems you may encounter in your operations. Attendees also benefitted from free admittance, complimentary food and drinks, as well as free parking. On top of all this, they earned CPD points by attending the event, working handily towards their annual totals. Attendees earned 6 CPD hours.
Thanks to our sponsors and event partners:
Headline sponsor: Element Logic
- Ehrhardt Partner Group (EPG)
- HAI Robotics
- Kingspan Insulated panels
- Zebra Technologies
The day feature 10 presentations, with each session topped with a discussion panel that gave attendees the opportunity to quiz our presenters on any matter concerning warehouse operations.
Looking at the content in a bit more detail, a key topic was dealing with rising operational costs. UKWA chief executive Clare Bottle delivered a wide-ranging analysis of warehouse cost trends, stretching from energy to labour and everything in between. One key point to contend with this year is rising business rates for warehousing - From April, warehouses faced an average increase of 27%. These can be challenged, says Clare, but do so with care, she advises, as once an appeal fails you cannot try again. For this reason, UKWA advises there’s no better way to appeal than to use a RICS-regulated business rates specialist.
Jeff Turner, head of strategic projects at ArrowXL gave a masterclass on resilience and agility, outlining how ArrowXL has an bounced back from a disastrous warehouse fire in 2017.
Gary Twynholm, co-founder, Link Logistics Services
Gary Twynholm, from Link Logistics Services, and former global logistics manager with Mountain Warehouse spoke about the relationship between modular automation and warehouse staff, outlining how the tech can be used to replace low value tasks, but not replace workers. One example is robotic goods to person picking robots, that climate picker walk times, but still require a manned picking station. This means the warehouse of the future is more likely to require engineers, data scientists, solution designers, and integration managers, explained Gary.
Rapid increase in tech
John Wilson, technology & innovation director Europe for GXO Logistics, delving into the rise of accessible automation and its potential to transform the supply chain. GXO is rapidly increasing its use of tech across the board, with AMRs, palm technology and IT leading the way. John outlined some key benefits the 3PL has gleaned from this wave iff new tech, such as limited or no infrastructural changes from implementations, retrofit friendliness, and the ability to use seasonal rentals to manage peak demands.
Dionne Redpath, group chief operating officer, Europa Worldwide Group
Moving to fixed automation, Dionne Redpath, group chief operating officer, Europa Worldwide Group, gave a brilliant presentation on its large-scale fixed automation installation at its Corby warehouse. This was particularly interesting because it was Europa’s first venture into automation. Dionne systemically laid out the lessons learned from its £12 million investment, which will be immensely useful to any company looking to take those early steps into an automated installation. One of the points that stood out for us was the importance of refining the process once the kit has been implemented. ‘Know precisely what’s not working,’ Dionne explained. ‘Make a list, prioritise, keep a tight group to manage the process and commit to each other. Repeat until complete’.
Gavin Harrison, UK Sales Director, Element Logic
Gavin Harrison, UK Sales Director, from headline sponsor Element Logic also presented on its automate technology and its underlying principles. Gavin explained how Element Logic looks to eliminate unnecessary processes, looking deeper when deploying automation to solve underlying problems in the modern warehouse.
After lunch, we looked at Warehouse Software. Hatmill Consultant Hazel Beasley outlined the role of AI and software in automation and how to get the best out of new technology. While super intelligent AI may still be a concept at the moment, there are AI tools that can make a difference in the warehouse. For example, Hazel explained how technologies can now be used in manual picking environments to optimise pick walks and make immediate savings. ‘Walking can equate to 45% of a picker's activity and pick slot optimisation can quickly and efficiently shorten or even eliminate pick routes’ argued Hazel.
James Carter, network H&S manager, Marks & Spencer
James Carter, network H&S manager, Marks & Spencer gave a great presentation on how AI software tools have helped M&S to reduce incidents by 80% in less than 10 weeks at its massive highly-automated distribution centre at Castle Donington.
Warehouse of the Future
Cold Chain Federation executive director Tom Southall presented on how the future cold store will play a key role in the UK’s route to Net Zero by 2050. Tom outlined the long term strategy the energy intensive sector has developed to deliver on its crucial role, while minimising carbon footprint, including reducing demand for grid generated electricity with on site generation, as well as harnessing the potential for cold stores to participate in balancing through demand management mechanisms and battery storage.
Will Laing, logistics analyst, Savills
Will Laing, logistics analyst from Savills, outline how the UK warehouse property market is changing, in response to a highly dynamic macro-economic picture. A very interesting nugget was the revelation that 78% of UK warehouse stock is below the proposed minimum EPC ‘B’ rating. There are some easy wins, explained Will. If 40% of the roof space in all new developments was used for PVs, it would deliver 97% of the energy needs for the 250m sq ft in the pipeline.
It has been a hectic time for warehousing over the last few years. The aim of the conference is to shed light on the trends that are continuing to impact your workplace, and how you might best adjust your operations to excel in the future. We hope these events can help, and we hope to see you in the future.
Exciting plans for 2024
We are expanding the Tomorrow’s Warehouse Event due to massive demand to both attend and exhibit.
Form 2024, we will add a Manchester show to the existing Coventry date. The two dates for 2024 are: Coventry - June 20; and Manchester - October 2.
For information on exhibiting, contact Neill Wightman; 01342 333723, 07818 574304, firstname.lastname@example.org