Are Cobots the future of Supply Chain?

5th October 2018

I remember sitting in a classroom as a very small child with a very basic computer inputting some simple directions (code) for a robot on the floor to suddenly carry out the movements I had input.  I couldn't belive my eyes when I saw this little clear plastic electronic brain on wheels start moving around, I then started laughing uncontrollably with the other children in my class. 

Fast forward about 5 years and I remember watching Tomorrow's World and seeing a vacuum cleaner operate without any human interaction and simply move around the floor collecting dust and crumbs.  At that moment I knew we were heading for a world like the Jetsons.

Today XPO are advertising their Collaborative Robots aka Cobots and using them worldwide.  XPO are not the only Supply Chain using them today, but more press coverage is mounting around these picking machines.  XPO outlined:

- It is increasingly harder to find suitable individuals to work in a warehouse and labour intensive environment

- There are more open jobs than unemployed workers in certain ares of the world relating to Supply Chain, which is an alarming statistic in itself

- With the festive season fast approaching seasonal peaks can increase work volumes by up to 20 times

- XPOs Cobots help warehouse increase productivity and pick volumes 

- Workers are now far easier to train when provided technology to aid their daily duties - individuals are working at double the output when assisted by a Cobot 

- Mr. Erik Caldwell the COO of XPO recently stated "new workers could be trained in 15 minutes on how to work with a Cobot"

- An ever changing and adaptable resource as each site can add more Cobots to each system in peak or expand the warehouse

- Similarly they can take them away when workload decreases or they move them to another contract

- XPO state that adding a new Cobot into system already using them takes less than two hours to program

As these are rolled out in more Distribution Centres across the world it is time to embrace the Cobot and realise that the future is now - I for one feel like a small child again watching them in action.

 

Click here to see Cobots in action


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