Integrated Supply Network Inc., or ISN, is a leading independent wholesaler and private-brand owner of tools, equipment, and supplies in the automotive industry. The company has been expanding its distribution centers, dealing with staffing challenges, and responding to an increase in small package shipments from 50% of its volume to 80% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With 35 years of experience in logistics, ISN’s customer service includes picking and shipping on the same day, so it needed high efficiency. A longtime user of the K.Motion warehouse management system (WMS), the Lakeland, Fla.-based company turned to Körber for help.
Körber's Supply Chain business area said it provides software, robotics, and materials handling systems and the expertise to tie them together. Körber worked with long-time strategic partner Locus Robotics to deploy 49 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in ISN's warehouses in Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Fresno, Calif.
ISN gets fast results
The companies initially implemented the LocusBots in ISN’s Atlanta location in just 90 days. “This has already shown exceptional results,” they said. Picking quality, accuracy, and speed improved from 30 to 110 picks per hour, equating to a productivity increase of 266%.
ISN also significantly reduced travel times for workers, freeing up time for them to carry out other critical tasks.
“With the AMRs, we have been able to significantly improve operations,” said Theron Neese, chief supply chain officer at ISN. “Adoption of the AMRs has reduced physical stress of our workers, improving quality of work and as a result has increased job satisfaction.”
“Additionally, we are reinvesting cost savings achieved with the AMR integration into higher wages for our warehouse associates, further boosting retention,” he said.
Following a successful Phase 1, ISN has just launched AMRs at its Fresno site, with the deployment in Indianapolis to soon follow. The automotive tool and equipment distributor is also expanding its AMR usage to the put-away process to drive further efficiency improvements.
Körber and Locus hail results
“Deploying Locus Robotics’ AMRs allows ISN to improve the efficiency of their operations, overcome labor shortages, and quickly scale their operations to meet rapid market growth,” said Bill Ryan, CEO of software for North America at Körber Business Area Supply Chain. “The successful deployment at the Atlanta site has shown that Kӧrber’s solution can be seamlessly integrated with existing system environments in a short amount of time, without disruption.”
“The Locus Solution allows ISN to gain higher productivity levels with the existing workforce, while also significantly improving the overall workplace environment,” said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. “Locus also helps reduce the cost of labor recruitment, training, and retention costs, as workers spend less time walking and more time picking. And because the LocusBots handle the travel and transport of the items, workers are less fatigued and more motivated.”
Wilmington, Mass.-based Locus Robotics recently raised $50 million in funding, acquired Waypoint Robotics, and opened its European headquarters in Amsterdam.