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Warehouse Automation

The pandemic and Brexit have brought about a perfect storm for supply chains. Online sales have been accelerated by the equivalent of five years and the UK is experiencing its worst labour shortages since the late 1990’s. Companies embracing technology and automation and building agility and resilience into their supply chain will be the ones who survive and thrive in the future.

About our service

Warehouse Automation

There isn’t a one size approach to Warehouse Automation and where Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) may be suitable for one business, an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) may be more suitable for another. Understanding which solutions are most applicable, and vendors to engage will ensure you get a solution that delivers the best return from your investment as opposed to the vendor’s margin.

We are independent of 3rd party vendors and work with you to design, develop and implement your automated storage solution and embed the necessary changes in your organisation to deliver the maximum benefits. We also support clients with existing automation challenges. Recent examples include establishing a flow room operation, tendering resident engineering contracts, and setting up and managing a recovery plan for an implementation at risk of failure.

We have worked with vendors across the market and delivered major automation projects for clients including Asda, Greggs, and Royal Mail. We would welcome the opportunity to help you.

Automation supplier lead times in the industry are increasing. We have a team of automation solution designers who can concept solutions in-house, allowing us to secure approval quickly on the strategic direction of a project allowing us to secure approval quickly

Supply chain automation experts you can trust

Why outsource with Hatmill?

Experienced team

Backed by decades of experience, our consultants can deliver automation for businesses of every size. Bringing technical skills, practical knowledge and a network of industry talent, we ensure your automated solutions are delivered to your requirements. Our team of experienced solution designers, automation project managers and MF/1 Engineers have designed, developed and implement automated solutions across a wide range of technologies, and are able to evaluate whether investment in technology is financially feasible. Not only that, but we will also recommend alternative manual or mechanised solutions if we do not believe automation is the answer.

End-to-end support

As leading warehouse automation consultants in the UK, we deliver a complete, agile service with end-to-end support and quick speed to market. Taking you all the way from the discovery phase and building a business case to implementation and early life support, we pride ourselves on ensuring solutions are embedded for your long-term operational usage. We are equally adept at supporting you mid cycle or post implementation to ensure you get the solution purchased. Whether you need technical specialists or extra resource for your in-house team, we tailor our service to your exact requirements.

Strategic specialists

We put a big focus on strategy development to ensure that the automated solutions proposed are flexible enough to support both today and for the growth and direction of your business may travel in the future. We look to design solutions that are modular to reduce the upfront capital and work with you to sign off data sets prior to tendering. Whether you need to review your current situation or start from scratch, we can help with data analysis, technology and supplier selection, and integration with legacy systems.

Impartial advisors

By getting to know you, your company, and your core business objectives, we provide an advisory service tailored to your needs. One that is impartial and always looks at the pros and cons of new technology against your business needs. This way, we assess and mitigate risk, and help you make educated decisions about your investment. We conduct a detailed analysis based on VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), so you can avoid costly mistakes that would ultimately damage your business.

We delivered a new purpose built 400k sq ft automated warehouse site for a global retailer delivering to ecommerce, wholesale and store format customers.
What could we do for you?

Warehouse automation technology can…

Reduce costs

From automated warehouse picking for faster pick rates to warehouse shuttle systems that take over manual transport roles, our automation solutions can save your business time and money.

Lower labour dependency

Introducing automated solutions will minimise manual movements and build resilience into your fulfilment. Longer term labour shortages and wage inflations will be less impactful. Labour skillsets will need to adapt, and we would consider these prior to tendering.

Increase fulfilment

Automated solutions designed right will often be faster than a manual alternative. Increasing pick rates and reducing travel times for pickers will enable fulfilment of orders to be accelerated offering an opportunity to cut down despatch times.

Save space and costs

Automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) and boxing systems organise inventory in an efficient way, reducing clutter, maximising footprint, and giving you a better-designed workspace, all whilst reducing warehouse and operational overheads.

Improve accuracy

Automation inherently improves inventory and order accuracy. The solutions reduce manual checking and eradicate stock discrepancies by human error.

Improve Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards

Automation in general offers a reduced footprint, improved ergonomics, better work environments and reduced waste. The solutions may also offer improved energy usage (lights out environments, efficient recharging), and reduced carbon emissions through consolidating operations.

  • Hatmill supported and challenged us in the transition and led the change, as well as envisioning the future state required to be market-leading in our sector in today’s digital world.

    - Managing Director, Homewares & Accessories supplier

  • We were extremely impressed with the professionalism of Hatmill and their ability to implement the warehouse move programme against some very demanding time schedules.

    - Managing Director, A leading supplier of Point of Sale products

Supply Chain and Logistics Consultants

Our Approach

At Hatmill, we take the forecasting burden away from your business so your teams can focus on the most important aspects of their jobs. To do this, it’s paramount that we learn as much about you from the start so we can give you the best possible service. Here are the steps we take to deliver demand and sales forecasts to your team:

  • Discovery phase – business requirements

    First, we’ll get to know your business and review your current supply chain strategy and customer proposition. We’ll also look at opportunities, challenges, risks and threats, and ask key questions about business culture and desired ways of working. With thorough analysis and process flow modelling, we can identify the best automation applications to fit your needs.

  • Model and business case development

    By defining an operational baseline, we can model and compare different warehouse automation solutions to support the business case. Inaccurate or low-quality data can delay the design process, so we always advise that adequate data analysis is conducted. If you don’t have fantastic data in your organisation, you are not alone! In this case we will work with you to develop a consensus of how your business works. We can then provide estimations on fit-out, delivery and running costs.

  • Concept development

    We will send out a Request for Information (RFI) prior to the tender. This is used to gather information for a more focused tender process. This means we can target vetted suppliers, put forward solutions that are fit-for-purpose, and generate ideas that align with your exact business needs and objectives.

  • Contract negotiation

    Working closely with your legal team, we will draw up a contract that best supports implementation. We consider MF/1 governance for large-scale projects, but also apply the same level of control to smaller projects. Technical integrity of contract documents is our priority, and we always ensure that your project has continuity of resource throughout the design and contracting stages.

  • Detailed design

    Our specialist automation consultants with their experience of automation projects bring you seasoned project support. Throughout the process, we will work closely with business stakeholders and automation partners to ensure the design is aligned with operations and your infrastructure. The involvement of teams across the business such as Operations, IT and Maintenance is key, and we collaborate with stakeholders to ensure all aspects are covered from the start.

  • Implementation

    The implementation phase includes five stages; construction, installation, system testing, ramp-up, and go-live. One of our key areas of focus is building robust testing strategies, and our warehouse management system automation experience means we often detect issues before they occur at go-live. It’s common for service levels to dip when new systems ramp up to business critical volume, but our expert team can help you prevent or overcome these hurdles.

  • Programme management

    Complex warehouse, logistics and supply chain automation is what we excel at. At Hatmill we handle the entire process end-to-end, providing you with full support and programme management. Plus, our ability to manage a wide range of stakeholders means that we can keep projects on track, on time, and within budget.

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