UPS Supply Chain Solutions is adding warehouse network technology to make distribution centers smarter and more efficient. The new Warehouse Execution System will enable faster order intake and fulfillment, along with automation technologies such as autonomous guided vehicles, automated sorting systems.
UPS also plans to launch a new visibility and reporting platform that will enable customers to monitor and track end-to-end supply chain activity and performance, from transportation to warehouse inventory to order volume, all in one platform.
UPS and supply chain solutions provider Softeon created the WES, which allows UPS to define specific customer requirements to ensure the highest priority orders are worked first without manual intervention, resulting in more than 50% productivity gains for some customers.
The technology also helps UPS to create more custom and turnkey outsourced fulfillment services to meet customers’ unique supply chain needs.
Supply chain operators are leveraging more sophisticated and complex warehouse technologies that can handle higher volumes with greater fluctuations. The WES’s real-time monitoring of capacity, fulfillment requirements, backlogs, and labor status allows UPS to identify and resolve potential disruptions before they arise.
The WES implementation is part of UPS’s ongoing efforts to modernize warehouse operations by leveraging autonomous capabilities. UPS is deploying Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) in several of its facilities and piloting AMR from Locus Robotics, which receive instruction from the WES to pick up and transport goods for order consolidation and pack out by UPS employees. The system dynamically dispatches order fulfillment activity and continuously balances inventory flow, which allows UPS engineers and operators to efficiently synchronize the use of labor and equipment.