Inbound Logistics | January 2022


I, Robotics THE CUSTOMER As an independent automotive tool and equipment specialist, Integrated Supply Network (ISN) serves wholesalers and distributors throughout North America and Europe. Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, it operates 13 strategically located distribution centers—nine in the United States, three in Canada, and one in the UK—and has grown to include approximately 655 employees since being established in 1985. THE PROVIDERS Global technology group Körber provides a broad range of supply chain solutions, including robotics. Körber frequently collaborates with Locus Robotics, a robotic process automation company, and in doing so gives its WMS customers an opportunity to enhance their operations. by June Allan Corrigan

Productivity and employee job satisfaction are on the rise at Integrated Supply Network (ISN), an independent automotive tool and equipment specialist serving wholesalers and distributors throughout North America and Europe. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have rapidly become useful additions at the ISN distribution centers where they’ve been deployed.

Neese says. “Otherwise, we would have had to do all the WMS IT development in-house. Körber was able to help us because they’d already done a lot of that coding for other companies.” UP AND RUNNING It took only 90 days to implement the solution at ISN’s Atlanta location. Once autonomous mobile robots were deployed, picking quality, accuracy, and speed signicantly improved—from 30 to 110 picks per hour, equating to a 266% productivity increase. The AMRs have proven to be a game- changer for warehouse employees as well. “When we deploy Locus, we help companies untether the worker from the work itself,” says John Santagate, vice president, robotics, for Körber Supply Chain Software. Pickers who once had to do a serpentine pick through a vast warehouse pushing an increasingly heavy cart can now pick to any robot they encounter. Everything an employee needs

The size of a warehouse and its throughput can overwhelm and physically tax the average worker on any given day. That was certainly the case at ISN in late 2019 and early 2020. “We faced challenges at our largest facility in the Atlanta area,” says Theron Neese, chief supply chain ofcer at ISN. “We had congestion in the aisles, especially late in the day.” The 240,000-square-foot Buford, Georgia, facility has a 3:30 p.m. cut-off time with a need to get product out the door by 6 p.m. “It became a real crunch time,” Neese says. “About all we could get through one of our hub facilities in a shift was 7,000 lines without taking drastic measures. So, we started to look around for some options.” In a fortuitous turn of events, Neese came across Locus Robotics, which happened to already have a good working relationship with Körber, ISN’s warehouse management system (WMS) provider. “Körber’s partnership with Locus facilitated and expedited the process,”

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