How can you relieve the pressures of peak season while still delivering all that your customers expect? Robots are increasingly seen as the answer to improving productivity whilst mitigating the impact of warehouse labour shortages. And mezzanines go hand in hand with robotics.
Seasonal demand and sudden surges can make or break a business. As Duncan Baldock, head of procurement for logistics and engineering at M&S, has highlighted: “For retailers specifically, peak – especially Christmas and New Year – is the golden quarter so peak planning is exceptionally important to ensure we just don’t fail.”
If your peak planning includes introducing or expanding the use of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), we’d suggest you think about mezzanines too.
Here are our 5 top benefits of mezzanines for robotics:
- Make maximum use of your space
When order volumes are escalating and stock levels are growing, space is at a premium. Installing a mezzanine buys you more capacity at far less cost and inconvenience than taking on new premises. If you run out of room for product storage on your main floor, mezzanines allow you to expand up rather than out, making full use of your vertical space. At Hi-Level Mezzanines we design structures suited to both AMRs and AGVs: AMRs range from small speedy robots to stronger ones able to transport large, heavier product, while AGVs use intelligent technology to transport heavy goods such as pallets around the warehouse.
For AMRs we have a unique robot-ready mezzanine floor tile called Hi-Tile which is the most durable, cost-effective flooring on the market. Hi-Tile’s electrostatic resistance and anti-slip surface make it the perfect partner to robotics solutions. Installing a mezzanine creates space below for AGVs to work, and we can discuss optimum column spacing for your needs.
- Manage increased demand while mitigating the impact of labour shortages
Once you have installed a mezzanine to create space for robots, you are less at the mercy of labour shortages, particularly during peak periods. Robots can take care of mundane, repetitive tasks and free up employees’ time for tasks that require a human touch – and are often more fulfilling for staff. “Automation can play a valuable role during peak periods where access to labour can be competitive,” explains Natalie Frow, Managing Director of Retail at DHL Supply Chain UK. “Robot pickers are able to process up to eight times faster than manual handling.” Collaborative robots known as cobots can work alongside people to improve warehouse productivity. Robots that are able to shift heavy goods and big pallets make your business less dependent on forklift trucks: they require less space, reduce the need to hire and the expense of training forklift truck drivers, and allow drivers to move to other roles in the warehouse.
- Mezzanines for robots have many more advantages
Robots are more reliable and reduce the risk of errors, particularly when it comes to temporary labour recruited at peak periods. Advanced robotic sorting systems with machine vision and artificial intelligence can minimise mistakes errors as they identify, sort and move items based on size, weight or destination. They can reduce labour-intensive tasks, carrying products from storage locations so employees do not have to cover vast distances in a super-warehouse – sometimes more than 12 miles in a shift. When robots are tasked with pallets, packing and assembly they help reduce the physical strain on workers. They also increase safety in the workplace by automating hazardous tasks and lowering the risk of injury, while robots work through the night with no fatigue.
- Mezzanine flooring for robots is versatile
We have completed projects installing our innovative Hi-Tile robot-ready flooring across the UK. These include for sports fashion retailers , paper packaging manufacturers, 3PLs , supermarkets, home shopping TV channels, antiques and artwork shipping and storage specialists and jewellery parts wholesalers. Our customised projects, many of which incorporated mezzanine floors, range from 200m2 to 9000m2 for warehousing, production, automation and robotics.
- Scale as you expand
Just as you can scale up your fleet of robots as your business expands, so you can scale your mezzanines at the same pace by adding more tiers. Our multi-tier mezzanine installations help businesses grow in their existing premises rather than relocating. A study from ResearchAndMarkets.com has forecast that the UK, along with the US, Germany and China, will be the leading markets contributing to annual demand for 350,000+ mobile robots (AGV and AMR) by 2028. The study found the robotics market is likely to reach $20 billion by 2028, with growth at around 22% for AGVs and 37% for AMRs. In the face of such acceleration, robotics and mezzanines are natural partners.
If you’d like to know more about how mezzanine floors can help your business benefit from robotics, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01730 237 190. .