UPS Supply Chain Solutions in Louisville, KY operates a 414,000 sq ft (38,000 sq m), 3PL warehouse for two large ecommerce clients. The warehouse delivers end to end fulfillment workflows for the clients.
UPS had difficulty hiring labor to support open roles, and the output was increasing. With the cost of labor going up, UPS was looking for new innovations.
UPS deployed a fleet of Locus Robotics autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), also known as “LocusBots” (bots) to help automate the picking workflow in the warehouse. With the LocusBots on the floor, UPS was able to meet their strict international cut off times, while also positively motivating their warehouse associates, who liken working with the bots to a computer game.
Locus provides its warehouse automation solution through a Robots as a Service (RaaS) business model. With RaaS, the client pays a subscription fee based on the throughput of the system. The service level agreement defines the service delivery levels.
The installation was plug-n-play, connecting the Locus fleet management solution to the UPS warehouse management system. Onsite support from Locus during the deployment helped smooth any issues.
Productivity increased from 40-45 lines per hour (LPH) to 80-90 LPH with the LocusBots. Some workers achieved close to 100 LPH in some cases. The initial target was an average of 74 LPH and they are exceeding that.
With the help of Locus, UPS is able to get orders to shipping by strict cutoff times, in order to support worldwide shipments.
Managers have seen an uptick in training with the autonomous mobile robots on the floor. The bots are loaded with 12 different languages, which enable workers to operate with the bots in their native language. Generally it takes 15-30 minutes of training to get a new worker up to speed.
Managers also use the Locus dashboards on smart phones and laptops to monitor productivity trends. This enables supervisors to modify the workflow from a zone pick to a cluster pick workflow to optimize the warehouse throughput.
You can view a video of this application use case on the Locus Robotics website.
Editors Note: Locus Robotics recently completed its SOC 2 type II certification, documenting its SOC 2 compliance.