Yodel invests £1m in automated system for 'odd-shaped' parcels

Yodel has invested over £1 million in an automated sorting system that is specially designed to handle delicate and irregular-shaped parcels.

The new deployment will ensure that clients and customers benefit from greater visibility and traceability of their parcels throughout the network, said Yodel.

The new system, called Merlin2, will be located at Yodel’s Shaw, Greater Manchester sorting centre. It is the business’ second automated “out of gauge” sorting facility, following the original Merlin deployment at Wednesbury in the West Midlands in 2019.

Merlin2 is capable of handling items up to 1.8m long and 0.9m wide and will significantly increase the speed and efficiency of the out of gauge parcel sorting process.

Merlin, created by the delivery company's engineers in response to the needs of the booming online retail sector, is capable of processing up to 2,900 items per hour, and will work alongside the larger fully automated sorting system at Shaw.

By linking directly with Yodel’s billing systems, the system also provides greater speed and accuracy for invoice processing. Items that previously had to be manually sorted will now be automatically scanned, weighed, volumised and photographed.

Carl Moore, chief operating officer at Yodel, said: “Increasing visibility across our sorting process reduces opportunities for parcels to be misplaced and means packages can travel from our clients and to consumers much faster, meeting the greater demand for a more seamless service.”

He added: “The system’s design also makes for a safer working environment for our colleagues, by reducing the physical demands of the work at our sorting centres and reducing the risk of strain and injury.”

Shaw is one of Yodel’s three central sorting centres. Packages are sorted at Shaw before being sent on to one of Yodel’s depots around the UK, where they are passed on to “final mile” drivers for delivery to customers.

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