Decathlon Canada includes warehouse robots in holiday prep

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture

The Canadian division of the world’s largest sporting goods retailer will tackle the holiday rush with smart robots in its supply chain.

Decathlon Canada is deploying 55 Exotec Skypod mobile 3D robots across 30 distribution centers. The implementation is scheduled to go live at a facility in Montreal in December 2021, just in time to help the retailer meet the demands of holiday shopping and returns. Decathlon Canada expects to handle 8 million items per year with the solution once it is fully rolled out.

French parent company Decathlon, which operates more than 1,600 stores across the globe, decided to implement the robots in its Canadian operation following successful warehouse automation with Exotec technology in other markets. Decathlon Canada will leverage Skypod to drive more efficient brick-and-mortar store replenishment and e-commerce fulfillment.

Laser scanner navigation enables the Skypods to navigate in a multidirectional manner while carrying bins of up to 30 kg. This capability is designed to free up time for warehouse associates to focus on packing and shipping, avoiding long-distance walks to obtain inventory. Specialty apparel retailer Gap Inc. contracted to optimize its returns picking process with Skypod robots in March 2021.

“We work with Exotec in a number of other regions and we expect this deployment to have a real transformational effect on our operations,” said Richard Tremblay, logistics leader for Decathlon Canada. “Speed and excellence in logistics are two critical elements to deliver great service to our internal and external customers. We are committed to a long-term partnership with Exotec with a progressive increase in the number of robots, in keeping with the overall growth of our business, ‘’ 

“Skyrocketing demand for e-commerce exposed a mission-critical need for businesses to rapidly scale their logistics operations. This has been a major tailwind for scalable robotics solutions like the Skypod System,” said Rudi Lueg, managing director of North America at Exotec.