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UPS automates fulfillment workflows with robots

UPS is automating warehouse processes.

The United Parcel Service (UPS) is leveraging technology to reduce repetitive tasks and increase efficiency in its supply chain.

Recently, UPS made several improvements in its operations targeting specific processes that can be repetitive and physically demanding such as pick-and-place, loading and unloading, and moving irregular-sized shipments. These implementations include:

  • Pick-and-place technologies from Dexterity, Fortna and Plus One Robotics that assist employees in sorting small packages, a workflow which requires repetitive tasks and can be inconsistent as it flexes with customer demands. Once implemented, UPS expects this technology will make these jobs easier, safer and offer a better overall experience for its employees.
  • Pickle Robot’s unloading technologies  designed to ease the job of unloading trailers, with the goals of making the role less physically demanding for employees and delivering better package care and reliability for UPS customers.
  • Autonomous guided vehicles (AGV) utilizing technologies from Dane, Geek+, Locus Robotics, Crown and Toyota-Raymond to simplify demanding jobs. According to UPS, many of these AGV technologies can more safely and easily move small packages and irregular-sized shipments through UPS facilities. Irregular shipments don’t fit on conveyor belts and often can be heavy and difficult to move.

UPS is currently using or will soon use these solutions in select facilities across the U.S. According to the company, 57% of the packages processed through its network went through automated facilities. UPS says it will continue to implement cutting-edge and transformative technologies in its business.

“UPS has been a technology company since its founding. Innovation is in our DNA,” said Carol Tomé, chief executive officer at UPS. “We continuously look for ways to leverage technology to improve our employee experience and increase efficiency. This is how we build a better and bolder UPS that will continue to be customer-first, people-led and innovation-driven for years to come.”

“In providing industry-leading livelihoods for our people, we are now also using technology, innovation and automation to provide for their well-being.,” said Bala Subramanian, executive VP and chief digital and technology officer at UPS. “Employees will always be our differentiator even as we optimize our network through technology.”

[Read more: UPS, Teamsters reach contract agreement to avoid strike]

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