Labour Shortages Lead to Demand for Logistics Automation

Should you automate processes before the labour runs out?

Logistics automation demand has increased during 2020 due to the labour shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All parcel carriers and logistics companies typically rely on large agencies to provide foreign labour for parcel sorting in their warehouses. As parcel carriers and logistics companies experience unprecedented growth due to COVID-19, we dive into why logistics automation with conveyor and automation systems could be the answer for logistics companies and parcel carriers, instead of the challenging need to compete for the best labour available.

Staying at home lead to ‘overwhelming’ demand

When the COVID-19 outbreak became a global pandemic back in March, many non-essential physical stores were forced to close until further notice and the “Stay at home” message was enforced to the UK population. This sparked individuals to shop online with the prospect of needing to set themselves up for a long period at home. The volume of online orders was ‘overwhelming’ with many postal workers and couriers seeing demand higher than around Christmas, which is normally the busiest time of the year for this sector. The demand caused logistics businesses to look into their processes and consider a logistics automation solution.

Huge volumes continue despite the reopening of high street stores

Despite the reopening of the majority of high street stores in July, UK parcel carriers and logistics companies are still enjoying huge volumes due to the public continuing to make purchases online. Sky report that “Non-store purchases” now account for £3 out of every £10 spent, up from £2 before the outbreak. This suggests that many may have changed their normal shopping habits and now look to purchase online instead of heading out to a store. We may see this change in habit having a long-lasting impact on e-commerce and parcel carriers and other logistics companies, as consumers must not only be comfortable enough to visit physical stores, but also be confident enough to spend on items that may not be a necessity. To support this, in a study conducted by Bazaarvoice, 74% of respondents across all age groups say they now feel comfortable buying products online thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.

What can logistics companies learn from 2020?

The need for manual labour, and the challenge of competing for the best labour, can be reduced by looking at what processes can be automated. For example, a sortation conveyor system will reduce the requirement for manual parcel sorting operations whilst delivering speed and accuracy. Other benefits of introducing logistics automation include increasing ROI, reducing the margin of error, the risk of human error and improving customer experience through a more accurate and quicker service.

Take a look at how L-A-C Conveyors & Automation helped Skynet Worldwide Express improve their lead time with a vertical cross belt sorter which could achieve 4,000 parcels per hour. Three sorter types were initially reviewed, and a recommendation was made on a distinctive space-saving design which was a unique offering in the logistics automation marketplace.

Cross belt sorter

What is a Logistics Automation Solution?

Logistics Automation solutions can increase capacity and make significant cost savings. Hermes, who invested in a return automation conveyor system from L-A-C for their national distribution hub, increased their returns capacity by 50% and significantly lowered the cost per parcel. The system allowed Hermes to automatically sort parcel traffic into over 400 client destinations and the ability to process over 7,000 parcels per hour.

Bespoke Logistics Automation solutions

There are many different automated solutions for logistics companies and parcel carriers, including:

L-A-C design and manufacture conveying and automation solutions in-house, to help logistics companies deal with today’s ever-increasing demands. We’ve delivered logistics automation solutions to convey a wide array of products from boxes, cartons and pallets, through to roll cages and hanging garments.

The experienced in-house controls division understand the complexities and importance of integrating warehouse control systems (WCS) and warehouse management systems (WMS) to achieve a fully functioning high-speed intralogistics solution.

Want to know more?

If you would like more information on how L-A-C can help your business, please contact us in one of the following ways. A member of the team will be in touch to discuss a bespoke solution with your business’s outcomes at the forefront of the project from design through to installation.

Email us at
Phone us on 0115 975 3300
Fill out our contact form

Case Studies

LAC Conveyors and Automation working closely with long-standing partner Interroll have installed a full turnkey Read more
International Automotive Components (IAC) was excited by the punch system LAC proposed and with a Read more