DHL is a highly regarded and globally recognized supply chain service enterprise. Just one of its flagship warehouses is dedicated to providing daily replenishment for approximately 600 locations for a chain brand coffee store within a single city. In just one year, the number of stores supported by the warehouse had doubled from 300 to 600, with peak shipment volumes reaching 400 cubic meters.
This exponential growth isn’t slowing down either. DHL anticipates a high-speed growth trajectory for this year, and the warehouse is expected to support an expansion to as many as 1,000 stores. While this amount of growth is a win for the company, it has also presented some pressing challenges, including an increased workload for DHL’s picking personnel, difficulties in recruiting new workers, and the burden of high training costs.
To solve these issues, DHL needed an automated solution that could help its warehouses increase their shipment volumes and be easily and quickly implemented into its rapidly growing warehouse.
DHL turned to ForwardX, a renowned leader in vision-based autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), to turn its warehouse around. The company implemented ForwardX’s assisted picking system, which includes its Flex 300-S AMRs. The Flex 300-S is equipped with a lifting function and rack locking mechanism. This ensures the rack is secure during high-speed movement for safe and reliable transport.
ForwardX’s AMRs are easy to integrate with manual lift, carts and forklifts, which are indispensable equipment for warehouses dealing with case picking of small and medium-sized items. Not all AMRs can easily work alongside this equipment, as laser-based AMRs often position their sensors in a way that may create blind spots near the ground, because these sensors rely on horizontal beams and have limited detection angles.
Placing lasers above a forklift’s fork can lead to a higher risk of collisions and safety concerns, especially when dealing with heavier payloads. Because ForwardX’s AMRs are vision-based, they don’t have these same struggles when working with forklifts.
Within just two months of using ForwardX’s AMRs, the system had a transformative effect on the warehouse’s operations. The project has yielded an increase of over 100% in units picked per hour, and resulted in savings of over 30% in operational costs. These results are a testament to the system’s accuracy and reliability, and its ability to reduce costly mistakes.