DHL Supply Chain to Install 1,000 Warehouse Robots From Locus Robotics
In a recent announcement, DHL Supply Chain revealed that they will once again be partnering with Locus Robotics to expand the capabilities of their supply chain.
This announcement comes at a time when logistics companies are increasingly focusing on automating warehouse facilities.
Through the partnership, DHL will be installing 1,000 warehouse picker robots from Locus Robotics across 10 of its U.S. facilities throughout 2020.
Through the expansion of their partnership, DHL is moving to automate their facilities as well as making good on its 2018 promise to invest in robotics applications across its global warehouse network.
DHL Logistics and Locus Robotics
DHL is the single largest shipping and logistics company in the world, shipping approximately 1.3 billion parcels in over 220 countries each year.
Locus Robotics is a medium-sized robotics manufacturer specializing in automating the supply chain.
The company manufactures picker robots, and its products are deployed in warehouses across the globe.
Expanding the Partnership
Following the success of their previous agreement, DHL and Locus Robotics have decided to extend the range of their partnership. As a result, they've signed what they call an “Expanded Multi-Site Services Agreement," greatly increasing the amount of Locus cobots deployed in DHL facilities.
Locus Robots in a warehouse. Image used courtesy of DHL.
The company will integrate another 1,000 cobots across a number of warehouses and DHL divisions, increasing the number of Locus-aided DHL facilities to 12.
In recent years, we've seen cobot pickers like the ones offered by Locus become increasingly popular in industrial warehouses in an effort to automate the supply chain.
As of right now, these pickers are designed to work alongside associates in the warehouse. However, as AMR warehouse solutions develop, we may begin to see entirely automated logistics warehouses similar to lights out manufacturing facilities.
Warehouse Pickers and the Future of Logistics
The partnership between DHL Supply Chain and Locus Robotics began in 2017, when the two companies initially agreed to deploy Locus's cobot solution (named "LocusBots"), to support DHL associates with picking operations in the company's facilities.
This initial partnership saw Locus's proprietary cobot solution introduced in one of DHL's Tennessee facilities, aiding piece picking operations in the life sciences sector of the facility.
The implementation of the cobots allowed DHL to automate picking processes, reducing the amount of human associates loading and pushing heavy carts and bins throughout the plant.
Locus Robots in a warehouse. Image used courtesy of Locus Robots.
While their initial agreement was on a small scale compared to this recent expansion, the initial implementation of the LocusBots was a resounding success for DHL, and the company saw "increases in fulfillment productivity of up to 80%," according to Jim Gehr, president of retail at DHL Supply Chain North America.
As a result, the company is expecting the expansion of Locus's AMR solution to further improve the efficiency of their picking operations, as the cobots manage strenuous and time-consuming tasks alongside their human partners.
What are some other ways you see robots being used in the supply chain?