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Home>Automation>Automated handling>3PL launches competition for logistics start-ups

3PL launches competition for logistics start-ups

15 January 2024

WINCANTON HAS launched the fifth edition of W 2 Labs, an innovation lab designed to discover emerging ideas and tackle some of the industry’s toughest challenges.

Created and run in collaboration with partner L Marks, W 2 Labs is Wincanton’s innovation programme which encompasses several initiatives to foster supply chain innovation and bring together an ecosystem of industry-leading partners.

Since 2017, W 2 Labs has driven collaboration with 26 early-stage businesses. These technologies include wearable technology which helps workers reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries; autonomous mobile robots; continuous labour optimisation-fuelled by machine learning; global asset intelligence and visibility; online recruitment assessment tools; and innovative approaches to utilising spare freight and warehouse capacity.

A wide variety of businesses will be selected to join the lab and receive mentorship from Wincanton’s subject matter experts and senior management. Furthermore, applicants will have the opportunity to trial their solution in a live environment.

Applications are open now and will focus on the following challenges:


Robotic technology has the potential to revolutionise fulfilment operations - to drive flexibility, increase capacity and improve efficiency in the warehouse – and to ultimately achieve a smoother customer experience. Wincanton is searching for partners to help deliver cutting-edge and cost-effective robotics solutions for its customers.

The company says: “Our specialist robotics team are hearing from innovators who have created hardware-agnostic software and control systems for warehouse automation and robotics that work for eFulfilment and beyond with the added benefit of agile deployment. We welcome universal solutions that can integrate with existing and new infrastructure to meet the dynamic demands of modern fulfilment.”

Digital Transport

To achieve efficiency and sustainability for its customers, Wincanton says it is crucial to leverage pioneering technologies to extract as much value as possible out of transport operations. Digitisation and intelligent transport optimisation are key to this goal.

Wincanton explains further: “We are looking for innovation partners with solutions that will supercharge our digital transport capability. Enhanced plan vs actual analytics, machine learning and predictive insights will enable us to unlock potential. We are open to discovering cutting-edge technologies in AI and data analytics to shape and improve decision-making and foster cost savings and sustainability, streamlining customer experiences.”

Security and Resilience

Wincanton is vigilant and proactive when it comes to the safety of its people, operations and the security of its customers’ assets. 

The company explains: “Our team are particularly interested in solutions which offer an intelligent front-end platform that can ingest and analyse multiple, disparate CCTV feeds, cyber security for robotics and automation (including Cloud based software), non-invasive security search technology, proactive safeguarding of our assets, and security for our mobile workers, for example HGV drivers.”

Wincanton CEO James Wroath, says: “This year’s W2 Labs categories embody Wincanton’s focus on delivering efficiency, sustainability and security for our customers. Through W2 Labs Wincanton is proud to create opportunities to collaborate with global talent to help us deliver on our promises to our customers, our colleagues – and to drive emerging technology and innovative thinking for our industry.”

Applications close at 23:59 BST on Sunday, 3rd March 2024. The application process starts: www.w2labs.com