April 21, 2017

Quiet Logistics opens Midwest hub for e-commerce fulfillment

Hazelwood, Mo., facility will use autonomous vehicles from sister company Locus Robotics.

By DC Velocity Staff

Third-party logistics provider (3PL) Quiet Logistics Inc. has opened an automated fulfillment center near St. Louis in a bid to offer two- and three-day shipping to its e-commerce customers across the country, the firm said Thursday.

The Devens, Mass.-based e-commerce fulfillment business currently provides third-party fulfillment services for online apparel and lifestyle retailers such as Zara, Bonobos, and Bluefly from its facility in Massachusetts. Quiet Logistics uses autonomous robotic vehicles from its sister company, the Wilmington, Mass., warehouse automation vendor Locus Robotics Inc., that work alongside human pickers to improve productivity.

Quiet Logistics has now opened its new facility in Hazelwood, Mo., just outside St. Louis. When this "Fulfillment Center of the Future" is running at full capacity, it will employ a staff of approximately 250 full-time employees working alongside Locus Robotics autonomous picking technology, the company said. By combining the central location of its new Midwest hub with strategic carrier partnerships, Quiet Logistics is now able to reach 100 percent of the U.S. population in two to three days, offering e-commerce customers competitive rates to other 3PLs, the company claims.

"Managing split inventory cross-country is no longer a necessity when a fulfillment network can provide two-day delivery to the majority of e-commerce shoppers," Quiet Logistics President Brian Lemerise said in a release. "Coupled with industry-leading same-day shipping performance, these transit times ensure customer orders arrive quickly and accurately. Moreover, Quiet can process an e-commerce order within an hour of receiving the order and make sure it delivers with a custom—and often personalized—brand experience."

When it was founded in 2009, Quiet Logistics used Kiva Systems' robotic material handling platform, but the company founded Locus Robotics in 2015 as a way to fill the void left when Amazon.com Inc. acquired Kiva and took it off the market. Locus robots are designed to work alongside human warehouse laborers in piece-picking operations such as e-commerce, storage, replenishment, and wholesale. The Locus Bot creates its own map of a distribution center, then interfaces with a WMS platform and finds its own way to any destination in the building.

Locus Robotics also offers its robotic platform on the open market, and on April 5 announced that DHL Supply Chain, the contract logistics arm of Deutsche Post DHL Group, will begin testing the use of its collaborative robots in a pilot alongside human warehouse and DC workers for an unidentified customer in the life sciences sector.

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