Demands for global warehousing service are surging dramatically with the growth of cross-border e-commerce businesses in the last 24 months. Custom statistics indicate that in 2020, Chinese cross-border trade volume amounted to RMB1.69 trillion, rising 31.1% from the previous year and the figure is estimated to go up to RMB16 trillion in 2021.
By 2020, the number of overseas warehouses owned by Chinese operators exceeded 1,800, totaling more than 12 million square meters in land area. Cross-border warehouse operators are often confronted with even harder challenges when dealing with all of the various import/export issues.
Warehouse owner WINIT is a Shanghai-based provider of overall solutions for cross-border e-commerce and runs overseas warehousing and distribution services in Australia, the U.S. and in several European countries. WINIT saw its warehouse throughput requirements spiking, along with the inrush of order-fulfillment requests for cross-border warehousing and logistics from merchants around the world, driven by the online shopping boom during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The first major issue is a staffing shortage along with rising hiring cost for local laborers. They also found it a headache to maintain a stable workforce in their warehouses, which are often located near commercial hubs in industrialized countries, even with above-average level wages. Automating their warehouses has become a pressing issue.
The second challenge is the huge number of SKUs owned by different merchants, which range from consumer electronics to baby toys. This raises concerns of warehouse storage density and picking efficiency.
HAI Robotics, a provider of Autonomous Case-handling Robotic (ACR) systems for warehouse logistics, announced that its first project in the U.K. with Chinese cross-border warehouse operator WINIT a success as the 2021 holiday shopping season begins.
The warehouse automation project provides 120,000 storage locations with shelving height of 4.3 meters in a 10,000-sqm warehouse in Tamworth, Staffordshire. HAI Robotics is deploying 100 HAIPICK A42 robots and 16 On-conveyor Picking Workstations in the warehouse.
A flexible warehousing solution that can be swiftly deployed is critical for cross-border warehouse owners whose growing businesses can’t wait for too long. WINIT, who found no shortcuts to address those concerns, found the HAI ROBOTICS’ solution a good match for the needs of high storage density, goods-handling accuracy, operation efficiency and flexibility.
By utilizing the HAIPICK A42 robot that allows picking and sorting with eight loads in one movement, one worker can handle 450 pieces of goods per hour, which is three to four times faster than manual work. The solution has also improved storage density by 130% with spaces from 0.25m-to-6.5m-high being fully utilized. The HAIPICK system, which supports intelligent totes identification and labels reading, boasts 99.99% picking and sorting accuracy.
The goods-handling efficiency for the WINIT warehouse was improved three to four times more than manual work with a daily handling volume of up to 50,000 pieces.
Kane Luo, Vice President of Sales from HAI ROBOTICS, said that customized plan was made for the project to improve performance, including elevated storage density and innovative workflows to facilitate necessary manual work. “We were primarily obliged to provide ACR system. However, we’ve taken into consideration the whole process from inbounds to packaging of outbound goods. The workstations were also ergonomically redesigned according to overseas standards,” he said.