Bluegrass Supply Chain optimizes order fulfillment with Locus Robotics


Problem

Bluegrass Supply Chain offers a suite of warehousing services and transportation management systems to enhance operational efficiency. The Bowling Green, Ky.-based company continuously evaluates innovation to enhance operational efficiency and improve the customer experience.

Bluegrass Supply Chain (BSC) wanted to automate elements of the order-fulfillment process with the goal of enhancing delivery commitments to its warehouse clients. The logistics company also needed to provide support for its warehouse operations staff and management.

Solution

In response to the challenges of improving omnichannel fulfillment, BSC entered into a strategic partnership with Locus Robotics, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The collaboration was intended to optimize warehousing and distribution operations.

The Locus AMRs met BSC’s requirements for innovation. The LocusBot mobile robots helped the company significantly improve efficiency through reducing the time spent, minimize touchpoints, and maximize order travel.

Raquel Summers, chief operating officer of Bluegrass Supply Chain, emphasized the benefits of the partnership.

“We always prioritize the ROI [return on investment] for our customers and our company,” she stated. “By adding our Locus Robots, we have significantly reduced the time it takes to train our team members, increased the pace of production, improved the quality of part identification, and strengthened our safety procedures.”

an associate puts parts onto the shelf of a locus robot in a warehouse setting.
A BSC warehouse associate works with a LocusBot to pull customer orders for omnichannel fulfillment. | Credit: Bluegrass Supply Chain

Bluegrass Supply Chain reports favorable results

The outcomes of the collaboration between Bluegrass Supply Chain and Locus Robotics included increased operational efficiency and productivity. In addition, the company has implemented a streamlined training process, accelerated the production pace, enhanced SKU identification quality, and improved safety procedures.

BSC reported a 200% increase in picking efficiency. The time to get a new picker associate to pick up to the expected rate has been reduced from two weeks to two hours since introducing AMRs.

The robots allow pickers to work hands-free and keep their processes running smoothly, allowing the team to handle orders more quickly and effectively.

“By embracing and setting future goals for automation at Bluegrass, we are making it possible to provide faster, safer, and more reliable services to our valued customers,” noted John Higgins, CEO of Bluegrass Supply Chain.

The use of AMRs has significantly reduced the chance of human errors in order picking and inventory management, claimed Locus Robotics. The LocusBots ensure accurate item identification, improving quality and increasing customer satisfaction.

According to BSC, the LocusBots are easily reprogrammed and redeployed to adapt to changing warehouse layouts or handle different tasks. This flexibility is particularly valuable in omnichannel fulfillment, where demand patterns fluctuate significantly across different channels.

Finally, the LocusBots allowed BSC to scale its operations based on demand. During peak periods, such as the holiday season, the company can easily add or remove robots as needed.

This agile scalability enables Bluegrass Supply Chain to manage increased order volumes without over-investing in permanent infrastructure.


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Recognition for Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics has received a number of awards for its achievements this year. Inc. Magazine named the company in its “2023 Best in Business” list, acknowledging its dynamic influence on communities, industries, the environment, and society.

Wilmington, Mass.-based Locus Robotics also made the Inc. 5000 list for the third consecutive year because of its rapid growth and innovation in the field.

The company was also honored as “Powerhouse Robotics Company of the Year” at the 2023 NEVY awards gala hosted by the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA). This award recognized Locus’ “contribution to revolutionizing warehouse productivity through technical innovation and rapid growth.”

“We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition from NEVCA and its members,” said Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics. “This award speaks to the tremendous dedication and talent of the entire Locus Robotics team in building groundbreaking warehouse automation technology.”

“It also underscores the critical role that venture capital funding plays in advancing cutting-edge robotics development, especially here in the Boston and broader New England area,” he said.

mike oitzman headshot.
Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at moitzman@wtwhmedia.com.