May 17, 2020

The Top 10 Automated Warehouses

Freddie Pierce
4 min
Warehouse robots drive automation.
Before we get you into the Top 10 Automated Warehouses, you might want to check this article out as it appears in our March Issue of Supply Chain Digit...

Before we get you into the Top 10 Automated Warehouses, you might want to check this article out as it appears in our March Issue of Supply Chain Digital.Trust us, it's way cooler to read this article when you can flip through our user-friendly e-reader. 

You can’t compile an automated warehouse list without putting this warehouse giant on it. We left Wal-Mart at No. 10 because it doesn’t really have warehouses per se, unless you consider the fact that every Wal-Mart superstore is essentially a consumer-operated automated warehouse. You can kind of say it’s automated because the hordes of consumers that pile into Wal-Mart each day are kind of like robots the way they zig-zag through every aisle.

Coca Cola’s fully automated warehouse for the EMEA region is a sophisticated facility that provides on-site storage, thus eliminating the expensive double-handling task that bogs down logistics when shipping stock off-site to local warehouses. Delivered by FKI Logistics, Coca Cola’s warehouse houses 25,224 pallet locations and is designed to accommodate future expansion of the factory.

 “Wait a minute, that doesn’t look anything like an automated warehouse!” That’s probably what you’re thinking if you watch this awesome Netflix video. You’re right because those people are most certainly not robots. Netflix uses humans to send off those DVD copies of “Black Dog” and “A Walk to Remember” each and every day. Some futurists might be calling for robots to optimize Netflix, but with next-day shipping for every order, you cannot question the efficiency of this human-automated warehouse.

RELATED: Oracle's Top Tips for Supplier Relationship Management

7. AMAZON.COM fulfillment centers are located all over the world, including 18 in the U.S., 20 in Europe and 10 in Asia. Interesting enough, none of the fulfillment centers are located within 500 miles of the headquarters in Seattle, Washington. There aren’t enough resources for each of these to be state-of-the-art automated warehouses, but they do deploy a certain degree of automation. Amazon basically used this massive network of strategic locations to become the largest online retailer in the world.

FedEx uses 4,000 employees during the day and 8,000 at night so it’s not a fully automated operation by any means. But the SuperHub is still an unbelievable facility with plenty of automated solutions that keep FedEx connected to any point on the globe. There are 300 miles of conveyor belts that help support the nearly 3.3 million packages that come through Memphis International Airport each day.

Nike’s “Distribuzione” is an automated warehouse for the European region that holds more than 25,000 SKUs and also where 43 million items are handles each year. The heart of the system is a 280 meter long loop sorter, which handles both automated inbound and outbound orders.

IKEA, the Swedish international home products manufacturer uses automated warehouse services to send distribute those connect-me-if-you-can home items to locations all over the world. With furniture that is found in so many of today’s homes, IKEA can be thought of as the leading furniture logistics company. IKEA grossed about € 23.5 billion in 2010, and it was able to drive out significant costs with the implementation of automated warehouse solutions.

Worldport is the worldwide hub for United Parcel Service and it’s located at the Louisville International Airport in Kentucky. The automated services used at the sorting hub helps UPS handle 84 packers per second, or 416,000 per hour. UPS really does love logistics, and one reason it does is because of the automated distribution systems at Worldport.

RELATED: The Best U.S. Trucking Companies to Work For

2. DIAPERS.COM was founded in 2005 and quickly became the largest specialty retailer for baby products. set out delivering diapers, wipes and formula to parents with free 1-2 day shipping, but eventually expanded to include clothes, car seats, strollers and toys and you can check out this awesome video to see how it all goes down. Think about the awesomeness of this solution. You can order diapers for your child while sitting on the couch in your boxers watching ESPN. It doesn’t get much better than that.

An empire built by Tony Hsieh, Zappos gained widespread notoriety for delivering items within 24 hours of a purchase. With the help of its automated warehouse, Zappos grossed over $1 billion in 2009, which eventually led to paying $1.2 billion deal to acquire Zappos. As you can see from the video, Zappos deploys fully automated warehouse services from KIVA Systems to help the company get the most efficiency out of its operation in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Zappos is able to maintain free shipping, a 365-day return policy and a full-time call center only with the help of its automated warehouse. Zappos is quick, free and easy … just like … Nevermind.

RELATED: SAP, Oracle and Accenture weigh in on Inventory Reduction

Share article

Jul 23, 2021

UK Food Supply Chain to be Exempt from COVID-19 Isolation

2 min
Emergency measures will allow workers in the UK’s food supply chain to continue working after potential contact if they test negative

Vital workers in the UK’s food supply chain will be exempt from isolating after contact with COVID-19 under new emergency measures announced by the British government. 

More than 10,000 people working in supermarket distribution centres, manufacturing plants and other food logistics services will be affected by the initiative. Staff who are told to isolate by test and trace or are notified by an official app will be allowed to continue working as long as they test negative. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the scheme would undergo a limited trial this week after consultation with the country's biggest food retailers. It plans to extend the measures through a wider roll out next week, impacting around 500 sites dedicated to stocking supermarkets and producing staple foods such as bread and milk. 

“Food businesses across the country have been the hidden heroes of the pandemic,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice. "We are working closely with industry to allow staff to go about their essential work safely with daily testing.”

Speaking to Sky News, Eustice added that the exception would not be extended to other sectors. 

"The reason we have made a special exception for food is for very obvious reasons,” he said. "We need to make sure that we maintain our food supply. We will never take risks with our food supply."

UK Supply Chains Under Strain

The news follows reports of empty shelves and widespread shortages in British supermarkets after a record number of people were told to isolate via the NHS app. Branded the ‘pingdemic’, more than 600,000 alerts were sent out to phones and mobile devices in the week beginning 8 July, warning people that they had come into contact with those infected by the virus. 

It left already strained food supply chains under staffed and unable to cope. The mass alert has also caused disruption in other supply chains, exacerbating a prevailing shortage of drivers and other essential logistics professionals. 

READ MORE: Driver shortages: Why the industry needs to be worried

Savid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who was appointed last month following the departure of MP Matt Hancock, said: “As we manage this virus and do everything we can to break chains of transmission, daily contact testing of workers in this vital sector will help to minimise the disruption caused by rising cases in the coming weeks, while ensuring workers are not put at risk.”


Share article