DCL Logistics needed a flexible automation system that would integrate with existing work cell setup and accurately handle the picking and packing of items into boxes in the company’s fulfillment center. The company deployed Universal Robots’ UR10e cobot and realized a 500 percent efficiency increase, 50 percent labor savings, a three months ROI, and 100 percent order accuracy.
The business ransformation
Explosive e-commerce demand shows no signs of slowing, making third-party logistics (3PL) fulfillment centers a hot-bed for growth. “Our direct-to-consumer fulfillment solution has grown probably 20 percent year-over-year for the last five years,” says Brian Tu, Chief Revenue Officer at DCL Logistics, an omni-channel logistics company primarily servicing emerging and high-growth electronics, digitally native brands, and medical technology devices through fulfillment centers in Kentucky, Los Angeles and the heart of Silicon Valley. “Our need to do direct-to-consumer fulfillment faster, at scale and cheaper has become increasingly more important.”
For a business that is traditionally manual-labor-intensive, meeting those goals is a challenge in tight labor markets. As hourly labor costs continue to rise, those costs must be offset elsewhere, and seasonal demand surges bring additional challenges. Nearly half of DCL’s clients see significant spikes during holiday seasons, with as much as 40 percent of their sales occurring in the last two months of the year.
The DCL team looked at existing robotic picking and fulfillment systems, but found that none of them ideally fit the company’s needs for a flexible system that could be customized to meet clients’ requirements. “They were either too expensive, the ROI wasn’t there, or the application didn’t work for the customers that we service, and it didn’t have the flexibility that we were looking for,” says Dave Tu president at DCL Logistics. “So we thought, ‘Hey, why don’t we try to build it ourselves?’”