Innovation

DHL Supply Chain Expands Robotics Deployment

DHL Supply Chain Expands Robotics Deployment

To further the use of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) across the country, DHL Supply Chain and Locus Robotics have unveiled an expanded partnership that encompasses 10 new deployments of Locus’ AMR solution this year. The two firms have inked an expanded multi-site services agreement encapsulating those terms, according to an announcement.

Jim Gehr, President, Retail at DHL Supply Chain North America, said in the announcement, "The agreement with Locus Robotics further enables us to bring productivity-enhancing technology to our customers quickly, so they are well-positioned to capitalize on new and emerging opportunities.”

DHL Supply Chain North America and Locus Robotics teamed in 2017 to test LocusBots, which is described as a “collaborative, autonomous robotics solution” to help associates piece pick order fulfillment in warehouse facilities. The LocusBots move about warehouses on their own to expediently find as well as transport pick items to associates.

According to the announcement, the robots can be used to support different picking strategies. As a result, they could cut time used toward physically difficult or everyday jobs, heighten productivity and decrease manual errors.

Rick Faulk, CEO, Locus Robotics, said in the announcement, “We are very excited to be growing our partnership with DHL Supply Chain.” Faulk continued, “We've already identified the sites in question and expect deployment in 2020 to support volume for peak season. What is particularly gratifying about this expansion is that the DHL decision was based on observed successes in their early facilities. We continue to see customers expanding their relationships as they prove out our solution.”

In a previous PYMNTS interview, Adrian Kumar, global head of operations, science and analytics at DHL Supply Chain, said that better inventory management can be helped by ergonomic design and automated procedures via the use of robotics as well as artificial intelligence (AI).

“It’s very challenging to pick [and fulfill] orders if you don’t have some type of optimization software or robotics,” he said in the interview. “If you just send an order to the floor without any kind of massaging or manipulation to that order, you’re inevitably going walk a mile to pick that order, and all the other orders, too … and it’s not sustainable.”

 

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