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In Tokyo, an automated warehouse cuts manpower by 90 percent

  • JAPAN NEWS / YOMIURI

    Fast Retailing Co., which operates Japan’s Uniqlo apparel retail chain, unveiled ta warehouse in Tokyo where a robotic system automatically conducts work such as inspections and sorting apparel goods.

TOKYO >> Fast Retailing Co., which operates the Uniqlo apparel chain, unveiled a warehouse where a robotic system conducts work such as inspections and sorting goods.

The system started full-scale operations last month, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in manpower at the location, according to the company.

This is the company’s first warehouse in which most of the work has been automated.

The robotic system is designed to read electronic tags attached to the products and confirm stock numbers and other information.

When shipping, the system wraps products placed on a conveyor belt in cardboard and attaches labels to them. Only a small portion of work at the warehouse needs to be done by employees, the company said.

The company developed the automated system by remodeling an existing warehouse in collaboration with Daifuku Co.

Automating one warehouse can cost from $9 to $90 million.

Tadashi Yanai, chairman and president of the company, said, “I want to introduce (the system) at our warehouses across the world within a few years.”

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