Contact Practice Director

Will Treasure
Director of Operations & Technology Consulting

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    Will Treasure discusses the operations
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    Javelin Group

Automation Planning and Implementation

We help large and growing direct retailers understand where and how to use automation, and we help them select and implement the right technologies.

The continued growth of direct retail is leading many of the larger retailers to consider automation of their ecommerce pick and pack operations. This has significant benefits:

  • Scaling up to peak demand: automation running eight hours per day can treble output with relatively small recruitment by running 24 hours per day
  • Reducing bulk storage space: modern dense storage (typically mini-load shuttles) enables retailers to avoid taking on additional space, avoiding the complexity of split / dual stock holding and the cost of split orders
  • Despatch sortation enables the effective management of multiple cut-offs for international and express deliveries, with pre-sort enabling carrier discounts
  • Automation enables batch picking at scale, leading to productivity benefits. Whilst manual batch picking can work at low volumes, it will fail at high volumes without the process control that automation brings

The benefits of automation do of course need to be balanced against the cost and the loss of flexibility that it brings.

In our view, automation generally starts to make sense with net ecommerce revenues of around £250m per year and upwards, although this varies with unit prices, product characteristics and return rates.

Our work with retailers on automation typically includes:

  • Case studies of how leading retailers are managing automation worldwide
  • Development of automation business cases
  • Conceptual automation design, through storage, picking, packing and despatch
  • Selection of automation provider
  • Project management and QA of implementation

Please contact Will Treasure or call +44 (0)20 7961 3200 to discuss your requirements.


"Javelin Group carried out a rapid quality assurance of our new automated warehouse at Castle Donington. They did a thorough and rapid job in demanding circumstances, and answered the questions we had set them clearly and thoroughly and provided a good set of recommendations. I am pleased with their work and plan to use them for future projects."

Tim Owrid, Head of General Merchandise Strategic Network, Marks & Spencer

"You should be proud of the talent and skills that your team possess to help teams like mine to succeed in developing so rapidly and profitably in line with your guidance and the clear strategic road map that you have developed with us."

Mark McKeon, CEO, Vroom & Dreesmann.

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