4 Editor’s Comment www.hsssearch.com
We’re in the middle of a parcel revolution. It was exploding quite normally and then the pandemic
accelerated it even further.
This makes automated sortation a top priority. In our feature, starting on Page 34, we look at key
players in the sector and how they are tackling the issue of automation. Former national institution,
the Royal Mail, is well into its modernisation programme, as it faces steadily falling letter volumes
and rapidly growing parcel volumes. This is informing both Royal Mail’s new build programme, with
a massive new automated hub due to open in Daventry in 2023, as well as use of automated
equipment to boost parcel sorting efficiencies at existing hubs that were originally built for letter
handling. It’s a fascinating insight.
We also speak to leading courier Hermes (Page 36), as they get into the nitty gritty of the
automated technology they are deploying, the rationale for this, and the knock on effects this has
Don’t forget to check out the sponsor for this section Distrisort (www.distrisort.com), who can
tailor your sorting solution to your individual needs, whether you’re tackling straight ahead
eCommerce, Omni-channel, cross-dock operations and much more.
Don’t miss our annual Lift Trucks, Attachments & Ancillaries Supplement, which comes with this
issue of H&SS. We are asking key suppliers about the future of the forklift (Supplement Page 6), as
well as highlighting key new product releases. A good example is the Aisle-Master AME-OP order
picker (Supplement Page 14), which is designed to both pick orders in narrow aisles, as well as lift
pallets for replenishment, reaching to higher levels. The truck is also comfortable
working outside loading and unloading pallets from lorries.
Linde Material Handling also tells us about its new generation of IC
counterbalance trucks - launched last year - with references from UK firms that
have rolled out the trucks (Supplement Page 10).
It is very interesting to see Asda adapt its stance to last mile in its latest
consultation (Page 10). The review comes less than a month after venture
capitalists bought a controlling stake in the firm.
It proposes the closure of its Dartford and Heston regional
delivery hubs in the South East of England.
Instead, the grocer plans to serve the increasing number of
customers shopping online by expanding its ‘in-store pick’
model – projecting the creation of 4,500 new roles in
store-based online operations across the country.
It is an interesting move because it puts the
emphasis very much on the existing assets within
the group - store staff, store space and in-store
stock. Perhaps as well as creating greater capacity,
improving slot availability and allowing Asda to
get deliveries to customers more quickly, it will
also allow them to control costs? It has long been a
tricky nut for retailers to crack, as home delivery is
inherently more expensive than the store model.
But with stores increasingly under-utilised post-pandemic,
it makes sense to max these assets.
The alternative of cutting back sharply on
store footprint would be more painful.
Simon Duddy, Editor
Western Business Media
Dorset House, 64 High street
East Grinstead, West Sussex
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