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DHL Supply Chain plans 2000 picking robots by 2022

02 June 2021

The 3PL has expanded its framework agreement with Locus Robotics.

Initial investments in assisted picking robots have proven effective in commercially scaled operations, and this multi-million dollar agreement will enhance DHL's wider Accelerated Digitalization Strategy. By 2022, the supply chain specialist plans to take on up to 2,000 robots, then being by far the largest customer of Locus Robotics worldwide. The assisted picking robots are mostly used in e-commerce or consumer warehouses to help with picking and inventory replenishment, thereby increasing efficiency and accelerating delivery processes.

DHL Supply Chain global CIO & COO Markus Voss said: “It is particularly important for us to be able to consistently optimise our supply chains - assisted picking robots are very effective in this respect. So far, more than 500 assisted picking robots are already in industrial use in our warehouses in the USA, Europe and the UK. By the end of 2021, another 500 robots are to be added in a total of more than 20 locations. The collaborative picking technology has clearly proven its effectiveness and reliability in modern warehousing. More locations have already been identified with concrete implementation roadmaps for the remaining robots, which we will deploy in 2022. However, the overall potential for assisted picking robots in our DHL warehouses is much bigger, so we are confident that we will meet the targets we have set ourselves together with Locus Robotics.”

Strain

Assisted picking robots help reduce time spent on maneuvering pushcarts through warehouses, lower physical strain on employees, and increase picking efficiency. Assisted picking robots display images of goods to be picked, calculate optimal navigation routes and reduce required training time. Also, they can be swiftly integrated into the warehouse system landscape via DHL Supply Chain’s Robotics Hub and are well received by staff. 

In addition, during peak operational periods the robots provide an optimal solution for capacity expansion as DHL can swiftly bring in more robots with minimal onboarding effort to the existing fleet.

Locus Robotics CEO Rick Faulk added: “Our expanded partnership with DHL reflects the increasing demand for warehouse digitalisation worldwide to meet today’s exploding fulfillment challenges. Locus is proud to be a valued technology resource that is helping DHL realise their strategic vision of digital transformation.”

 
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