Europa Warehouse’s shared-user approach makes automation a reality for all e-commerce businesses
With the continuous advancements in technology and the integration of artificial intelligence, automation is poised to revolutionise how customer orders are picked, packed and delivered. As businesses embrace this shift, they can expect improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, their competitive edge. By passing over manual tasks to digital systems and robots, automating warehouse fulfilment dramatically reduces manual intervention, ensuring consistent service quality and delivery speed, even at peak times.
That being said, these technologies are not new, and many have been established in larger e-commerce warehouses for years. However, many businesses have, so far, been excluded from taking advantage of them due to the sizeable capital investment required. This, coupled with a reluctance to sign up to lengthy contract terms, drives a preference for solutions that offer more flexibility and a quicker return on investment.
But what if a lower-cost and less time-intensive option was available that enabled more e-commerce companies to reap the benefits of automation?
Enter the ‘shared-user’ warehouse; a single facility that provides state-of-the-art automation technology to multiple businesses whilst reducing those initial financial hurdles. Europa Warehouse – the award-winning, specialist 3PL division of Europa Worldwide Group – spotted a gap in the market for affordable solutions to democratise the automation revolution for growing e-commerce companies.
In 2021, Europa Warehouse in Corby introduced an £11m state-of-the-art automation system, specifically designed for clients who operate a large SKU range within a volatile order profile to automate their processes. Industries from health and beauty to nutrition, high-end jewellery, wine, and even parts and component distributors, can all benefit from Europa’s shared-user automation platform.
So, how does shared-user work?
At the core of the process is the ‘tote’. The tote transports products through the automation process. As goods arrive at the warehouse, they are weighed, labelled, put in a tote and added to the tracking system. Conveyor belts and lifts then transport the totes filled with products to the ultra-secure, caged storage area, which can hold up to 36,000 of them. Totes are equipped to hold items including luxury goods that require extra security and heavier items like tools and parts.
As customer orders are received, Europa’s sophisticated system calculates the most efficient fulfilment process. The totes containing the requested products arrive automatically with the picker at the correct time, along with a suitable empty packing carton. The picker grabs the correct items from each tote and puts them in the carton to fulfil the order. This system enables a single picker to complete multiple orders simultaneously – up to 48, at certain pick stations – with robust quality processes that prevent errors and reduce costs. The shared-user aspect of the system can be quickly scaled up or down to meet fluctuating demand. This allows for very accurate financial modelling and drives a high level of predictability and confidence.
Last year alone, Europa picked 17.2 million units through its automated platform, regularly scaling from 40 to 100,000 individual picks in 24 hours with minimal additional resources. Achieving this manually would have required around 60 extra people and all the additional risks and vulnerabilities associated.
Europa’s cutting-edge Corby warehouse sets the industry standard with its features. This HMRC bonded facility is 18 metres high, well above the market norm, and is intelligently designed with three levels of mezzanines to maximise space utilisation.
This impressive infrastructure is complemented by an in-house engineering team that manages the facility’s automation system and ensures ultimate resiliency and continuity of supply. Europa staff are renowned for delivering top-tier customer service and operational excellence at a highly competitive price. The Corby warehouse offers secure pallet storage at just £1.49 + VAT per pallet per week for quantities exceeding 3,000 pallets.
Dionne Redpath, Europa’s Chief Operating Officer, told Tech HQ: “We have seen significant growth across all of our customers’ business operations since their inception. They have focused a lot of time, energy, expertise, investment and resources to get to that place. By entrusting their logistics operation to Europa, they’re free to focus on developing their brand offering and growing their customer portfolio, all the while knowing that their fulfilment is being undertaken to exacting quality standards in a predictable, stable cost and operational environment.
“A fully automated 3PL warehouse fulfilment service tailored to individual business needs, once only accessible to larger, global brands, is now available to most businesses through our shared-user option.”
In summary, Europa Warehouse’s shared-user solution enables businesses to embrace automation without significant upfront investment. Located in the UK’s logistics ‘golden triangle,’ the expert team supports customer competitiveness by providing comprehensive 3PL services and allowing them to expand their operational capacity. Amid intense competition and rising costs, Europa Warehouse aids e-commerce leaders to minimise costly returns through precise order fulfilment and reduced pallet storage fees.
To learn more about how your business can benefit from shared-user automated warehousing, call one of Europa’s dedicated warehouse advisers on 01536 909 300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 December 2023
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