How robots are changing the e-commerce landscape

How robots are changing the e-commerce landscape article image

DHL Supply Chain is partnering with Decathlon Group, the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, to introduce new robotic solutions to improve delivery times.

Under the agreement, a new fleet of Goods-to-Person Robots (GPR) will be deployed to dramatically improve operational efficiency and fulfilment speed at Decathlon’s fulfilment centre in Sydney.

The GPRs will support the fulfilment team’s ability to efficiently pack more customer orders, reduce turnaround time and drive accuracy.

Capable of moving at speeds of close to one metre per second, the GPRs will allow workers to despatch up to 144 customer orders per hour – more than double the productivity expected in a manual environment.

“We are excited to be growing our partnership with Decathlon Group, as we are for the opportunity to bring innovation to our customers,” said Saul Resnick, CEO, DHL Supply Chain Australia & New Zealand.

“COVID-19 has placed enormous stress on supply chains everywhere. It’s our priority to work together with our customers to build more resilient and stress-resistant supply chains, including through the use of new technologies.”

Surge in e-commerce demand

DHL Supply Chain and Decathlon Group will deploy the first GPRs at their facility in Sydney, with a view to extend their use to more facilities around the country. Further plans are underway to deploy the GPRs as a multi-user solution, which will help to further drive down operational costs for retailers and customers while delivering even more flexibility.

“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 Olivier Robinet, CEO, Decathlon Group Australia. “Our aim is to continue delivering the exceptional service our customers have become accustomed to, regardless of the challenge.”DHL robots2

“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. For that, we turned to our trusted partner, DHL Supply Chain for their expertise in developing proven solutions that deliver value to our customers,” added Robinet.

Reducing manual errors

The GPRs autonomously navigate their way within warehouses, with the ability to locate and deliver items to pickers within 25 seconds.

They can be flexibly deployed to support a diverse range of picking strategies, significantly minimising time spent on routine or physically demanding tasks, reducing manual errors and increasing productivity.

“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,” says Mr Resnick.

DHL Supply Chain has experienced tremendous success with GPRs in customer operations in North America, Japan and Europe with increases in fulfilment productivity of up to 80% in selected customer operations. 



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