Consultancy SCALA said there was now clear evidence of the benefits that can be achieved through warehouse automation and robotics after two-thirds of users reported greater productivity.

The supply chain and logistics consultancy undertook research with manufacturers, retailers and 3PLs across a range of sectors and found 35% had invested between £1m and £5m in automation.

A significant 28% had spent more than £5m on the technology.

The most common benefit reported was greater productivity, but SCALA said 66% also said they were better able to meet customer demand and 62% reported cost savings.

SCALA said due to the significant advantages it found, organisations that were hesitating to invest could be in danger of getting left behind.

The report found 82% were apprehensive about the level of investment required, 73% were worried about return on investment and 69% expressed concerns about uncertainty over future requirements.

John Perry, SCALA MD, said these concerns were understandable, but he added: “However, there is now clear evidence of the benefits that warehouse automation can bring when properly implemented, and many organisations have already chosen to move forward - either by taking the leap or more often reducing the risk by taking a step-by-step approach.

“Right now, many organisations are continuing to face the challenges and implications of the last few years, from tackling labour shortages to managing the implications of Brexit, Covid, and ongoing geopolitical crises, and navigating the rise of e-commerce.

“But those organisations that fail to also look ahead, innovate, and implement the right automation may come out the other side and find themselves behind the curve when it comes to adopting efficiencies, speeding up processes, and reducing reliance on an entirely human workforce.”