In the fall of 2019, global logistics provider Geodis began researching solutions to make teammates' jobs easier and safer, all while increasing efficiency and productivity.
As a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, Geodis handles multiple operations within its DCs. In order to increase productivity overall, the company began evaluating autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), which deploy sensors and an understanding of the facility to determine the most effective way to get jobs done.
Based on its findings, GEODIS began engaging with Vecna Robotics, an AMR provider focused on helping distribution, warehousing and manufacturing organizations to streamline their material-handling and logistics operations. The company claims to be the only provider of high-capacity AMRs for full-pallet putaway. Additionally, Vecna’s robots are equipped with Pivotal, the vendor’s name for its orchestration engine powered by artificial intelligence. The tool optimizes and organizes daily robot work orders and allocates tasks to the appropriate agent based on priority, location and availability.
Vecna’s software also utilizes machine-learning algorithms to track the vehicles and share data-driven insights, with the goal of creating a continuous-improvement cycle.
Drawing on Vecna’s AMR technology, Geodis elected to deploy two units during a pilot in October, 2019 at one of its busiest sites in Dallas, Texas. According to the company, Vecna’s pallet jack AMRs helped increase productivity and throughput in the 350,000 square-foot DC for retail case pick and consolidation.
Today, Vecna’s AMRs clear designated dock doors and bring pallets to pick and drop spots throughout the Geodis facility. Working alongside lift drivers, the robots have increased inbound throughput and dock-to-stock time. By using the AMRs to eliminate horizontal travel and reduce trips to the dock, putaway operator productivity has improved by approximately 30%.
“In order to compete, our clients must meet the rapid demands of today’s consumers,” says Kevin Stock, Geodis’ senior vice president of engineering and operational excellence. “They rely on our services to overcome their logistical constraints and ensure goods get to the right place quickly and efficiently.”
Stock says working with Vecna Robotics has helped Geodis to increase productivity in its DCs, and move goods in and out with greater efficiency. “We’re incredibly excited with the results of this partnership, and we’re looking forward to expanding our use of AMRs at a second site to help enhance our logistical operations.”
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