Robots do it better

Robots do it better

3PL firm GEODIS has improved efficiency and accuracy for online women’s apparel retailer while addressing labour market concerns.

To address the record-low unemployment rate (~3%) and the strain on labour during peak seasons, GEODIS and a major online women’s apparel client partnered to pilot collaborative each-picking using 30 autonomous mobile robots from Locus Robotics in a 13,000 sqm warehouse in Indianapolis, USA. The location handles over 30,000 SKU and uses a manual picking process that is complex and leaves little margin for error.

The results have been staggering, the company says. Now, 80% of the units are picked to the robots daily. Employee productivity has doubled and there was at least 50% reduction in time to train new employees. GEODIS is now looking to expand the partnership with Locus Robotics in more warehouses with their retail and ecommerce customers.

“Our mission is to help our clients succeed by overcoming their logistical constraints and we are committed to innovative solutions for our customers to address industry-wide challenges,” said Marie-Christine Lombard, GEODIS chief executive officer. “The labour market is tight, especially during peak seasons, and we want to enable our team to better execute for our customers. And in this case, the technological support of robots effectively solved the challenge.”

The success of the pilot started with simplifying GEODIS employee training. Rather than spending hours in the classroom, team members were instructed on how to pick to the robots on the warehouse floor, completing the training within a matter of minutes. The messaging on the robots is displayed in their preferred languages allowing for faster absorption of training and a decrease in picking errors. Picking units to the robots also reduced physical demand by eliminating the need to pull pick carts and decreasing overall travel.

 

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