October 7, 2021
Locus Robotics and Körber Supply Chain have announced that a deployment of 49 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) across the Integrated Supply Network (ISN) has resulted in a productivity increase of 266%.
The deployment of the robots was initially implemented in ISN’s Atlanta location in about 90 days, and will soon be expanded to include warehouses in Fresno, Calif., and Indianapolis. The companies said picking quality, accuracy, and speed were significantly improved – from 30 to 110 picks per hour. ISN said the robots also significantly reduced travel times for workers, freeing them up to carry out other critical tasks.
“With the AMRs, we have been able to significantly improve operations,” said Theron Neese, chief supply chain officer at ISN. “Adoption of the AMRs has reduced physical stress of our workers, improving quality of work and as a result has increased job satisfaction. Additionally, we are reinvesting cost savings achieved with the AMR integration into higher wages for our warehouse associates, further boosting retention.”
ISN said its customer service includes picking and shipping on the same day, so high efficiency is key. The company has grown at an extraordinarily fast rate, leading to the expansion of its distribution centers. Small package shipments increased from 50% pre-pandemic to 80%, adding additional fulfillment complexity. With a high reliance on warehouse labor, the climate brought about staffing challenges with high turnover rates amongst the competitive job market. The company turned to Locus and Körber to overcome many of these challenges.
“The Locus Solution allows ISn to gain higher productivity levels with the existing workforce, while also significantly improving the overall workplace environment,” said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. “Locus also helps reduce the cost of labor recruitment, training, and retention costs, as workers spend less time walking and more time picking. Because the Locus bots handle the travel and transport of the items, workers are less fatigued and more motivated.”
Following a successful first phase, ISN said it launched AMRs at its Fresno site, with a deployment in Indianapolis following soon. The automotive tool and equipment distributor said it is also expanding the AMR usage to the put away process in order to drive additional efficiency improvements.
“Deploying Locus Robotics’ AMRs allows ISN to improve the efficiency of their operations, overcome labor shortages and quickly scale their operations to meet rapid market growth,” said Bill Ryan, CEO of software for North America at Körber Business Area Supply Chain. “The successful deployment at the Atlanta site has shown that Körber’s solution can be seamlessly integrated with existing system environments in a short amount of time, without disruption.”