DHL Supply Chain, a global logistics provider, announced today the expansion of its partnership with Locus Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), increasing its use of Locus AMR robotics within its supply chain operations. As part of this new partnership, DHL Supply Chain will deploy 5,000 Locus Origin AMRs across its global network of warehouses and distribution centers, representing the industry’s largest AMR deal to date, according to the companies.
The expanded fleet of Locus AMRs will provide DHL Supply Chain with advanced automation technology to optimize its supply chain operations, and improve worker productivity, order accuracy, speed, and efficiency, the companies added. The robots will be deployed across DHL Supply Chain's global network, further enhancing its capabilities in e-commerce fulfillment, retail replenishment, and pharmaceutical and healthcare logistics.
“An idea is only a good idea if it can scale,” said Oscar de Bok, Chief Executive Officer, DHL Supply Chain. “The flexibility and scalability of the Locus solution has been instrumental in helping us meet the evolving demands of the e-commerce landscape and leveraging cutting-edge technology to optimize our operations and deliver an even better experience for our customers.”
"The addition of Locus Robotics AMRs to our network is a major milestone in our digitalization journey, and we are excited to partner with Locus Robotics to bring this technology to our operations," added Markus Voss, Global CIO & COO DHL Supply Chain. "By using advanced robotics and data intelligence, we can further improve our operational efficiency, reduce processing time, and continue to improve our customer experience."
"We are thrilled to be working in an expanded capacity with DHL Supply Chain to bring our industry-leading robotics technology to their global network," said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. "As the robotics industry continues to consolidate, Locus Robotics has emerged as the clear leader in the market, and we are poised for further significant growth. Our innovative technology and commitment to customer success have set us apart. With our expanding product offerings and growing customer base, Locus Robotics is well positioned to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities ahead."
DHL has now surpassed more than 250 million units picked using the LocusOne solution across its global sites. The deployment of the new LocusBots is expected to be fully integrated into DHL Supply Chain's operations by the end of the year. DHL already had 2,000 of the AMRs deployed before this latest announcement, so 3,000 more are being added, bringing the total to 5,000 bots expected to be in use by the close of 2023.
“Locus is helping DHL rapidly transform operations through a workforce empowered with the right technology at the right time, to deliver goods where they need to at the speed our modern markets demand,” said Sally Miller, Global Digital Transformation Officer, DHL Supply Chain. “Locus is a critical partner for us as we digitalize our warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centers to efficiently meet increasing order volumes, labor shortages, and rising consumer expectations.”
In an interview with Modern, Miller explained that a key benefit of the collaborative AMRs is they speed up picker productivity by reducing warehouse travel, allowing associates to spend more time on order picking. Miller added that most of the additional robots will be Locus Origin bots used to speed up small item order picking, but that some will be larger format AMRs from Locus Robotics, in particular its Vector and Max AMRs. The Vector bots, Miller added, are suitable for automating the transport of cases to replenish the zones where the Origin bots work alongside people, while the even larger payload Max bots hold potential for other case-pick workflows in which full pallet loads are being built up for distribution.
Miller added that the response of associates who work alongside the collaborative AMRs has been positive. “They like working with the bots,” Miller said. “It makes their jobs easier, and honestly, I think they like to tell their friends and families that they work with robots.”
DHL Supply Chain provides a global network spanning more than 220 countries and territories, offering a comprehensive range of services across the entire supply chain, from warehousing and distribution to transportation and value-added services.
Locus Robotics supports more than 100 of the world’s top brands and its AMRs are deployed at 250-plus sites around the world.