Logistics global news roundup: SCALA, Exotec, Logistics UK

SCALA study shows automation & robotics on rise; Robotics specialist Exotec sees global growth; UK logistics body urges British government net zero action

SCALA study shows automation & robotics on rise

A third (35%) of manufacturers, retailers, and 3PLs across multiple industries have already invested significantly in warehouse automation, new research shows.

The report, from supply chain and logistics consultancy SCALA, looks at the rise of  supply chain robotics and automation, shows a third (35%) currently have between £1m and £5m invested, while 28% have over £5m invested.

The most common benefits of automation cited are greater productivity (66%), better ability to meet customer demand (66%), and cost savings (62%).

The research suggests some organisations have cost-related concerns, with 82% apprehensive about the level of investment required, 73% worried about the return on investment achievable, and 69% concerned about uncertainty over future requirements. 

SCALA MD John Perry says: “The concerns that some organisations expressed when it comes to future investment in automation are certainly understandable, especially when it comes to the potential costs involved. 

“However, there is now clear evidence of the benefits that warehouse automation can bring when properly implemented, and many organisations have already chosen to move forward, either by taking the leap or more often reducing the risk by taking a step-by-step approach.”

Robotics specialist Exotec sees global growth

Global warehouse robotics provider Exotec is on course to grow by 80% year on year, it has announced.

The company is on track to hire more than 200 employees globally by the end of the year as it continues to expand its presence across APAC, Europe, and North America. Exotec now has 100 sites globally.

Exotec CEO and Co-founder Romain Moulin says: “Leading brands trust Exotec not only to improve operational efficiency and augment their human workforces in the warehouse, but use it as a driving force to reinvent their entire supply chains.

"Amid global economic uncertainty, prolonged labour shortages, and rising consumer expectations, warehouse automation emerges as a compelling market.”

UK logistics body urges British government net zero action 

Logistics industry group Logistics UK has urged British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to support the net zero agenda by progressing investing in plans needed to support logistics decarbonisation.

In a letter, Logistics UK Chief Executive David Wells expresses the industry’s disappointment over Sunak’s decision to extend the deadline for the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.

Wells says: “Industry requires urgent progress on the roll out of public charge-points that are suitable for commercial vehicles, as well as the publication of the government's long-delayed low carbon fuels strategy which is now over nine months late. 

“If the logistics industry is expected to move to net zero technologies within the timeframes set, the government must also deliver on its deadlines. Urgent progress of the Zero Emission Road Freight Demonstrator for battery, hydrogen and catenary solutions for HGV decarbonisation is also needed. Without clarity, the logistics sector cannot invest at scale.”

“Logistics is a highly interconnected system and electrification of the rail network must not be overlooked, nor should the delivery of the promised clean maritime plan. As highlighted in a recent Oxford Economics report, logistics is one of the UK’s essential systems for growth. Net zero is just one of many areas where the logistics industry wants to work in closer collaboration with government as, by putting logistics first, with the right partnerships, regulations and investment, government can supercharge UK GDP by £3.9 billion to £7.9bn per year by 2030.

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