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Jon Brewin - AutoStore
2022-10-24 3 min read
Q. Can you give me an overview of your business and how it was founded?
AutoStore is an automated storage and order fulfilment system that uses the power of robots and cube storage technology to create an ultra-dense, highly productive and flexible warehousing solution. Founded in the late 90s out of operational necessity, the warehouse manager of an electronics distributor created the concept to solve the company's challenges with a lack of storage space and low efficiencies. Over the next 25+ years, the idea turned into a prototype, which then became a commercial product and has seen a huge growth in new applications and industries.
Q. What are your main products and services?
Through an extensive partner network, we offer a storage and fulfilment system that allows businesses within the pharmaceutical, grocery, retail, industrial and e-commerce sectors the capability to optimise workflows. By harnessing robotics to deliver the product in a goods-to-person system, warehouse managers can boost productivity while remaining environmentally conscious by storing their product offerings in typically 25% of the existing utilised space. With an average system uptime of 99.6% and with no single point of failure, AutoStore gives operations the ability to focus on output rather than maintenance.
As the logistics industry remains challenged with staff shortages, an AutoStore system plugs the gap for labour missing from the warehouse, typically boosting picking productivity by 100-300%. Existing staff are enabled to play an enhanced role in the new operation, working more in analytics and optimising of the system to continue pushing the outputs. As the system is scalable, customers can implement a smaller system to gain early benefits and grow the grid and robotics over time as the business growth is realised. This also means AutoStore can fit in smaller, localised distribution spaces and support consumer appetite for speedy delivery times, giving businesses the flexibility to adapt to changing consumer demands.
With greater demand for sustainable options in the logistics industry, AutoStore can operate without heating and lighting, whilst 10 active AutoStore robots use the same amount of energy as a household vacuum cleaner for minimal energy outputs.
Q. What is the main innovation you bring to the market?
AutoStore is the cube storage pioneer, inventing the technology and using the last few decades to push the boundary of what the system can do with additional hardware and software innovations along the way. With the ongoing demand for more warehouse space, an AutoStore system can be set up in as little as six months and can be deployed in a variety of brownfield sites with different shapes and sizes.
Our system provides businesses with the opportunity to scale up an AutoStore grid to increase the number of bins and robots in the system - ultimately supporting companies, particularly start-ups and high-growth businesses, that achieve an increasing demand for their products and require a flexible storage mechanism that can grow as they do.
It is this scalability - combined with the sustainable capabilities - that is benefitting the likes of rapid grocery deliveries to developing local depots and meeting the demand for city-living people seeking instant delivery of their weekly food shops.
AutoStore is the cube storage pioneer, inventing the technology and using the last few decades to push the boundary of what the system can do with additional hardware and software innovations along the way.
Q. What is the greatest challenge that the company overcame?
AutoStore has been and continues to realise incredibly aggressive growth in terms of market share and business size. The biggest challenge for the business has been to push this growth whilst continuing to possess a “start-up” mentality and close-knit culture that the company has been founded on. Structure, processes and organisation have complemented the existing ways rather than limiting them, allowing the business to be geared up for further growth whilst maintaining incredible staff attrition rates and attracting the best talent in the industry.
Q. How do your products and services tie into the growing use of automation in the industry?
Commonly, AutoStore will be the cornerstone for an upgraded or new automated facility. Our technology can be utilised as the full scope of automation for a business or can be complemented with additional automation and smart software to provide large-scale, state-of-the-art automation facilities.
From production line-side supply to online grocery order fulfilment. From automotive spare parts storage to pharmaceutical replenishment. AutoStore can be applied across a vast number of industries and applications, it is just a case of how we customise the solution to exactly fit business needs.
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