DHL Supply Chain doubles down on robotics

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
Locus AMR bots in action.

WESTERVILLE, Ohio and WILMINGTON, Mass. – DHL Supply Chain is expanding its use of robotics in its fulfillment warehouses with an additional 10 sites adopting Locus Robotics’s AMR solution in 2020. With this deployment 1,000 LocusBots will be operating in 12 DHL sites in North America.

DHL Supply Chain initially implemented the robotics solution in its life sciences and retail sectors, where it delivered increases in fulfillment productivity of up to 80 percent in some customer operations.

DHL Supply Chain North America and Locus Robotics partnered in 2017 to pilot a collaborative, autonomous robotics solution – LocusBots – to support associates in piece picking order fulfillment in warehouses.

The LocusBots navigate autonomously within warehouses to locate and transport pick items to associates. They can be deployed to support a diverse range of picking strategies, and reduce time spent on routine or physically demanding tasks, reducing manual errors and increasing productivity.

“We are very excited to be growing our partnership with DHL Supply Chain,” said Rick Faulk, CEO, Locus Robotics.

“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 2018, DHL Supply Chain announced a multi-year plan to invest US$300 million on emerging technologies in its North American operations. The company has rolled out an accelerated digitization program that has identified 14 target technologies – seven of which involve collaborative robotics – that can be fast-tracked into customers’ operations.

Partnerships with emerging technology providers such as Locus Robotics allows DHL to quickly bring proven, productivity-enhancing technology and data-driven insights to customers’ supply chains.

“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,” said Jim Gehr, president, retail at DHL Supply Chain North America.

“We now see an opportunity to extend the benefits of utilizing their highly flexible AMR solution at scale for customers across multiple sectors. We look forward to continuing to work with Locus to drive productivity, support capacity growth and deliver continuous improvement within our customers’ supply chains nationwide.”