Sporting goods retailer Decathlon has partnered with logistics business DHL Supply Chain to automate its Sydney warehouse, with the aim of effectively doubling productivity.
In the warehouse a number of Goods-to-Person robots will be deployed, which are capable of moving at speeds of close to one metre per second, and will enable human workers to dispatch up to 144 customer orders per hour.
The process is being handled by Körber, the same technology firm that is working with Wesfarmers to bring automated fulfilment to Catch Group.
The robots will additionally be able to navigate the warehouse autonomously, and can support a range of picking strategies, minimising manual labor and errors. And while the partnership will begin with these robots only in the Sydney facility, Decathlon already has plans to bring them to other warehouses around the country.
“The pandemic brought with it a surge in e-commerce demand, particularly for sporting goods as gyms and fitness facilities around Australia were forced to stop trading,” said Decathlon Australia chief executive Olivier Robinet.
“We have more than 15,000 SKUs in this fulfilment centre, so we need an innovative and practical solution that could scale up our ability to fulfil customer orders without prohibitively increasing variable costs.”
The solution was automation, Robinet said.
DHL Supply Chain ANZ chief executive Saul Resnick noted the pandemic has put significant pressure on all retailers’ supply chains, and it has become the business’ propriety to work with their customers to build more resilient and stress-resistant supply chains moving forward.
“Robotics and automation are incredibly important technologies that can make our customers’ operational processes more flexible, but they also create a better and safer working environment,” said Resnick.
Decathlon aren’t the first business bring automation into the fold following the nationwide stress-test caused by Covid-19, with eStore Logistics’ $40 million investment into automated fulfillment and Woolworths partnering with Knapp bringing robot-driven fulfilment to the forefront.