DHL Supply Chain inks expanded agreement with Locus Robotics to digitalise supply chain processes
DHL Supply Chain has announced a multi-million dollar framework agreement with warehouse automation company Locus Robotics, which expands the collaboration to further digitalise DHL’s supply chain processes.
By 2022, the logistics specialist plans to implement 2,000 assisted picking robots globally.
The assisted picking robots are mostly used in e-commerce or consumer warehouses to help with picking and inventory replenishment, thereby increasing efficiency and accelerating delivery processes.
According to DHL, initial investments in assisted picking robots have proven effective in commercially scaled operations, and the agreement is set to enhance DHL’s wider Accelerated Digitalization Strategy.
“It is particularly important for us to be able to consistently optimise our supply chains – assisted picking robots are very effective in this respect,” said Markus Voss, Global CIO & COO DHL Supply Chain.
“So far, more than 500 assisted picking robots are already in industrial use in our warehouses in the USA, Europe and the UK. By the end of 2021, another 500 robots are to be added in a total of more than 20 locations,” Voss revealed.
“The collaborative picking technology has clearly proven its effectiveness and reliability in modern warehousing. More locations have already been identified with concrete implementation roadmaps for the remaining robots, which we will deploy in 2022. However, the overall potential for assisted picking robots in our DHL warehouses is much bigger, so we are confident that we will meet the targets we have set ourselves together with Locus Robotics,” he said.
Further implementation of the robots is part of the logistics specialist’s Accelerated Digitalization Strategy.
Among its benefits, DHL said assisted picking robots help reduce time spent on maneuvering pushcarts through warehouses, lower physical strain on employees, and increase picking efficiency.
The robots also display images of goods to be picked, calculate optimal navigation routes and reduce required training time. They can also be swiftly integrated into DHL Supply Chain’s existing systems and added during peak operational periods.
With the pandemic acclerating e-commerce, DHL said labor-intensive picking process in e-fulfillment play an even bigger and more critical role in meeting high end-customers’ demands.
These trends speeded up the introduction of new technologies and automation in various industries, but especially in warehousing. It has also shown what the “supply chains of the future” may look like and that the world must quickly adapt to new challenges.
“Our expanded partnership with DHL reflects the increasing demand for warehouse digitalisation worldwide to meet today’s exploding fulfillment challenges,” said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics.
“Locus is proud to be a valued technology resource that is helping DHL realise their strategic vision of digital transformation,” Faulk said.
Apart from robotic solutions, DHL Supply Chain believes that accessing the pool of big data and implementing algorithms and artificial intelligence has proven to be a “game changer” in global supply chain planning and will be rolled out further.