A Perry, one of the UK’s largest suppliers and manufacturers of hinges and ironmongery, will now be able to process orders more than four times quicker, after investing seven figures in new automation technology.

The £1.2m investment in picking robots has been implemented to cope with the significant rise in demand seen by A Perry in Q1 2021, and enables the company to vastly reduce day-to-day operational costs and make more efficient use of floorspace, allowing for future expansion of stock volume held on site, plus the variety of products on offer, without the need to relocate.

The Cradley Heath-based firm worked with OW Robotics to install 15 fully automated robots and 330 moveable pods in its 5000 sq ft warehouse. The installation took just six weeks to install, calibrate and set into action.

The Q7 Hikrobots have a weight capacity of 1000kg and provide rapid access to 4000 picking locations containing 15,000 product lines, while only requiring two packing stations to complete customer orders.

Chris Perry, operations director at A Perry, says: “Due to our unique position in the marketplace and significant investments within our supply chain, our stockholding has been considerably better than most of our direct competition, which has resulted in a substantial rise in demand. In the first quarter of 2021 we have seen a +60% increase in orders, and to be able to efficiently facilitate these, this investment in automation has been essential to be able to keep on top of our customers’ expectations.

“We’ve been in business for over 95 years but we’re always looking ahead to new innovations, and this could not have been implemented at a more crucial time. We have invested a significant sum of money, but the automation drives our business forward and will enable us to remain the biggest, most innovative supplier in our field for years to come.”

Greg Downey, robotics business consultant at OW Robotics, agrees that A Perry’s robotics implementation will have a significant long-term impact on its order throughput. He says: “Right now, all businesses that operate a warehouse are faced with the difficulties of accessing stock through the supply chain, rising shipping and freight costs, and also the shortage of stable labour, and these issues all result in slowing picking rates and fulfilment. Online demand for products right across all industries, including this trade, has sky-rocketed in the last 12 months, and that trend is expected to continue.

“That’s why A Perry has made this investment in a robotics solution at the right time. Flexible automation is going to be key to businesses who realise the warehouse is central to their success. Hour to hour, Perry’s implementation will enable it to increase picking rates by up to almost four times – in the long-term, this will mean the business can process significantly more orders to boost sales and revenue. 

“Demand continues to increase, and Perry has put itself in a great position to be able to scale its warehouse operation to suit peak times and its customers’ needs.”