Driving Warehouse Productivity with Mobile Robotics

How autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs) are helping Integrated Supply Networks (ISN's) meet e-commerce demand, as well as assist with distribution center labor shortages.

Since its founding in 1985, Integrated Supply Network (ISN) has become the nation’s largest independent automotive tool and equipment distributor serving resellers and professional DIYers throughout North America and the United Kingdom. ISN is committed to product and distribution excellence by delivering breadth of product and making the unexpected… expected.

Changing demand

Integrated Supply Network has been growing at an exceptionally fast rate. With the growth of the business came the need to expand the size of its distribution centers too. In recent years, the typical ISN distribution center has seen a 10x increase in size; to over 1M square feet. The growth of these distribution centers has, in-part, been responsible for decreased associate productivity. Since time and money were being wasted on long travel times in aisles, instead of valuable product picking.

Furthermore, ISN’s fulfillment model was evolving. A surge in small package shipments – which increased from 50% of all orders pre-pandemic to 80% now – placed further strain on associate productivity and distribution center throughput.

The productivity of existing warehouse associates was not the only challenge. Finding new associates and retaining them was also problematic for ISN. Skilled warehouse associates have always been in short supply and with the COVID-19 pandemic – and the resulting boom in e-commerce fueling increased competition within the talent pool and higher than expected staff turnover – their availability was even more limited.


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