To address the record-low unemployment rate and the strain on labor during peak seasons, GEODIS and a major online women’s apparel client partnered to pilot collaborative each-picking using 30 autonomous mobile robots from Locus Robotics in a 139,000 square foot warehouse in Indianapolis. The location handles over 30,000 SKUs and uses a manual picking process that is complex and leaves little margin for error.

The results have been staggering. Now, 80 percent of the units are picked to the robots daily. Employee productivity has doubled and there was at least 50 percent reduction in time to train new employees. GEODIS looks to expand the partnership with Locus Robotics in more warehouses with their retail and ecommerce customers.

The success of the pilot started with simplifying GEODIS employee training. Rather than spending hours in the classroom, team members were instructed on how to pick to the robots on the warehouse floor, completing the training within a matter of minutes. The messaging on the robots is displayed in their preferred languages allowing for faster absorption of training and a decrease in picking errors. Picking units to the robots also reduced physical demand by eliminating the need to pull pick carts and decreasing overall travel.