They may not be replacing warehouse workers, at least not yet, but robotics are increasingly being introduced in warehouses to help workers pick orders and manage inventory. Logistics providers like DHL Supply Chain, Geodis, and Kenco and retailers like Amazon and Walmart are some of the companies leading the way in this area.
DHL Supply Chain announced last month that it will begin a pilot to test using autonomous robotics at a facility in Tennessee on behalf of customers in the life sciences sector. The LocusBots, as they are called, will be tested as a picker companion for warehouse order fulfillment.
Geodis signed an agreement last year with Delta Drone to jointly develop a solution for automating warehouse inventory using drones. Following the delivery of a prototype, and testing the system at Geodis warehouses in France, industrial development and an international rollout are expected later this year.
Kenco Logistics’ Innovation Lab has been investigating the use of drones in warehousing and fulfillment. “There has been a great deal of publicity about the use of drones in last-mile delivery,” said research manager Matt McLelland. “While that has great potential, there are other areas of the supply chain where drones can be employed now, or very soon.”
BY: Peter Buxbaum, American Journal of Transportation