This is definitely the most extreme crisis anyone has ever seen. When Amazon announced that they would be prioritizing inbound shipments of household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products, a lot of Amazon sellers scrambled to find alternative sales and fulfillment options. Many of these sellers turned to DCL Logistics and we had to adapt quickly to meet their needs.
Before the pandemic, we would hire temporary workers to come in and help us with the increase in orders. Keeping our existing employees safe, however, was our number one priority and we wanted to avoid having them come into contact with other people than the small group they work with every day. So we were more cautious with bringing in more temporary associates. A couple of weeks before the pandemic hit, we had fortunately just installed our second collaborative robot in our Fremont facility, integrating it into a conveyor system. So with our new automated cells and some reorganizing of existing staff resources, we were able to meet the 30 percent increase in demand without hiring more people.
The introduction of the cobots have also in general decreased the amount of people needed. In the past, it took five people at DCL Logistics to manage a conventional manual picking process: one to pick the order, one to bring it to the line, one to verify it, one to kit it, and the last person to pack and ship it. The robotic system can do within two hours what a team of five people would do in an entire day.