Transport and logistics giant UPS has teamed with supply chain solutions provider Softeon to launch a warehouse execution system (WES) it says will make distribution centers smarter and more efficient.
Atlanta-based UPS’s Supply Chain Solutions group said Thursday the new WES will improve order intake and fulfillment, allowing up to 50% productivity gains. The WES combines real-time monitoring of capacity, fulfillment requirements, backlogs, and labor status to identify and resolve potential disruptions before they arise, company officials said.
“WES enables UPS to better leverage our global warehouse network and integrated technology to help our customers reduce capital, [and] improve service and speed to end customers,” Philippe Gilbert, president of UPS Supply Chain Solutions, said in a statement Thursday. “We also can create more custom and turnkey outsourced fulfillment services to meet our customers’ unique supply chain needs.”
The integration of robotics and other automation technology will help meet those goals. UPS said the WES is part of its ongoing efforts to modernize warehouse operations, adding that it is deploying autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) in several of its facilities. A pilot program with AMR provider Locus Robotics allows the system to pick up and transport goods for order consolidation and pack-out by UPS employees.
“The system dynamically dispatches order fulfillment activity and continuously balances inventory flow, which allows UPS engineers and operators to efficiently synchronize the use of labor and equipment,” according to the company.
Other investments in warehouse technology include autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) and automated sorting systems. UPS said it also plans to launch a visibility and reporting platform that will allow customers to monitor and track end-to-end supply chain activity and performance, from transportation to warehouse inventory to order volume, all in one platform.