- DHL Supply Chain and Locus Robotics are expanding their fulfillment automation partnership to two of the logistics company's Ohio warehouses, the robotics firm announced this week.
- Locus will deploy its autonomous mobile robots at the warehouses to support high-volume order fulfillment for DHL's retail customer Carhartt.
- The companies say the tech will help control operating and labor costs, as well as boost DHL's production capacity at the sites heading into peak season.
The automation expansion builds on a longstanding partnership between DHL and Locus. The two have worked together since 2017 on piece picking order fulfillment, and last year DHL announced it would bring 2,000 of Locus' machines to its facilities in 2022.
At the Canal Winchester and Lockbourne, Ohio facilities, the use of the robots should reduce employee walking time and improve worker productivity, according to the release.
The logistics company is Locus' largest customer, with LocusBots Robotics technology in more than a dozen of its North America sites. In June, DHL celebrated the bots picking more than 100 million units in fulfillment facilities across the continent.
The technology will prove particularly useful heading into peak season, when DHL says it can quickly add more bots as needed and transfer them between facilities to support demand shifts.
DHL has invested millions in warehouse robotics in the last several years across its operations, hoping to speed throughput and boost productivity. The logistics company's e-commerce arm, eCommerce Solutions, installed two robotic sorting systems at an Atlanta distribution center last year with the ability to sort more than 1,000 pieces hourly.
The Ohio automation deal is also welcome news to Carhartt. The heavy-duty apparel maker is facing pressure to improve its fulfillment speeds after battling low inventories and slow delivery times, President and COO Linda Hubbard noted in a letter to customers last year.
"Implementing Locus has quickly proven to be an ideal choice to deliver high productivity, letting us fulfill orders at a record pace," Tony Gariety, vice president of distribution and logistics at Carhartt, said in a statement. "Locus's ease of use and fast training has also helped us with recruiting and retaining employees and seasonal workers."
For Locus, the expansion is one of multiple new projects it's working on as more logistics companies turn to robotics to boost throughput efficiency. The robotics company announced an expanded agreement with DHL competitor Geodis last month, bringing 1,000 LocusBots to the logistics company's global warehouses over the next two years.
This story was first published in our Operations Weekly newsletter. Sign up here.