Moving materials is essential to order fulfillment and supply chain processes, but it’s not what generates revenue, at least not directly. Materials transport is a subtask of getting goods to a customer on time. When human operators need to manually transport materials long distances in a facility, it consumes labor time that could be spent on higher-value activities like order picking, kitting, and other processes essential to meeting delivery timelines and keeping customers happy.
Universal Logistics, a full-service provider of customized transportation and logistics solutions, knows what it takes to keep customers like automotive and aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) productive. Universal is adept at delivering parts and materials to OEMs accurately on a just-in-time (JIT) basis, often in specialized racks that facilitate convenient access to the correct components at production work cells. Universal has deployed a cloud robotics solution at multiple locations to make its materials handling more efficient, taking special aim at tasks which previously involved long haul travel, either by associates on foot or by drivers in vehicles.
As Lee Weisenberger, Managing Director of IT at Universal Logistics, explains: “In our use of the robotics platform, we concentrated on workflows that had long travel times, as we know that is where our biggest potential efficiency gains exist—in automating the movement of materials from Point A to Point B.”