Editor's Comment

Editorial: Retailers make the automation leap as cost pressures mount

Automation is at the top of the agenda this week, as we report that Carrefour will deploy new data analysis tools in order to improve its forecasting and ordering processes.

The story comes after a Capgemini report urged logistics companies to invest in automation as respondents to a survey admitted that their last mile models were not sustainable.

This thinking was apparently behind Zalando’s decision to exit from its logistics centre in eastern Germany, as the fashion ecommerce giant claimed it was unable to make the site profitable due to being unable to kit it out with automation.

We also report that Bringg, which amongst other products provides automation software, has won €25 million in funding from Siemens.

Automation is the technology of the future that is proven today, so it is no surprise that retailers and logistics companies are investing in it. However, there is appetite for other cost-saving solutions such as alternative fulfilment methods like click and collect – something Doddle is counting on as it expands into the US.

Meanwhile, new technology was on the agenda at the National Retail Federation’s annual trade show in New York, with Matalan investing in software to improve its inventory management and HP and Panasonic both launching new solutions.

We also have an opinion piece from Laybuy’s Gary Rohloff, which provides some helpful background to the above – companies are losing money due to so-called “free” delivery and returns.

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