NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- To address the record-low unemployment rate (~3%) and the strain on labor 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 139,000 square foot warehouse in Indianapolis. The location handles over 30,000 SKUs and uses a manual picking process that is complex and leaves little margin for error.
"We're committed to innovative solutions for our customers to address industry-wide challenges," says Eric Douglas, GEODIS Executive Vice President of Technology & Engineering. "The labor market is tight, 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 (English, Burmese, Chin and Spanish) 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.
And the results have been staggering. 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.
"This is the first of what we anticipate to be multiple deployments of the robots this year," said Eric Douglas, as GEODIS looks to expand the partnership with Locus Robotics in more warehouses with their retail and ecommerce customers.
"While technology can never replace the human aspect of business, the Locus Robotics solution has proven to be a great asset to assist our operations to increase productivity," said Mike Honious, GEODIS Chief Operations Officer.
"We are very proud to welcome GEODIS as a customer," said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. "We are not only able to help GEODIS realize immediate productivity gains, but our solution is able to scale on-demand to meet the growing future needs of their customers. Our robots enhance more than worker productivity, they improve worker job satisfaction by removing some of the more physically demanding aspects of the picking process. We look forward to continuing to help the GEODIS team drive operating efficiencies."
Both GEODIS and Locus Robotics will be exhibiting this exciting new technology at Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Retail Supply Chain Conference in Phoenix February 25-28.
GEODIS – www.geodis.us
GEODIS is a Supply Chain Operator ranking among the top companies in the field in Europe and the World. GEODIS, owned by SNCF Logistics, which in turn is a business line of the SNCF Group, is ranked as the number four logistics provider in Europe and number seven at a worldwide level. GEODIS is also listed as a "Leader" in Gartner's 2016 Magic Quadrant of Worldwide 3PLs. GEODIS' reach includes a direct presence in 67 countries and a global network spanning over 120 countries. With its five Lines of Business (Supply Chain Optimization, Freight Forwarding, Contract Logistics, Distribution & Express, and Road Transport), GEODIS manages its customers' Supply Chain by providing end to end solutions enabled by over 39,500 employees, its infrastructure, its processes and systems. In 2016, GEODIS recorded €8 billion in sales.
Locus Robotics – www.locusrobotics.com
Locus Robotics transforms e-commerce fulfillment operations with innovative autonomous mobile robotics technology that significantly improves worker productivity and operational efficiency, while lowering operating expense. Locus' award-winning solution was purpose-built with one thing in mind: to improve warehouse productivity. LocusBots work collaboratively with warehouse workers to drive greater throughput, reduced costs and unparalleled flexibility in moving inventory and orders through a fulfillment center, even during peak periods.