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Vecna's Autonomous Pallet Truck

Vecna’s Autonomous Pallet Truck traveling alongside a human co-worker.

October 31, 2019      

WALTHAM, Mass. – Vecna Robotics, which makes autonomous systems for materials handling, and supply chain operator GEODIS today announced a partnership to implement autonomous solutions at a GEODIS distribution center.

Vecna’s robots and workflow technology is automating the horizontal transport of inbound pallets from a staging area to put-away storage at a 150,000-square-foot GEODIS distribution center in Dallas, the companies said in a statement. Before the partnership, GEODIS used human labor and manual trucks to pick up, deliver and put away pallets.

Vecna said GEODIS has deployed two pallet jacks driven by Vecna’s autonomous technology and orchestration system in their distribution center. The self-driving pallet jacks pick up pallets and independently deliver them to a GEODIS team member, who then uses a manual forklift to put the pallet away in the appropriate rack. The companies said the pilot operation is expected to see a 33% increase in productivity due to reducing the distance traveled by each operator.

Vecna Robotics GEODIS announcement

Matthew Cherewka, Vecna Robotics

“The autonomous warehouse is a critical differentiator, and Vecna is thrilled to partner with GEODIS so they can offer world-class, autonomous logistics services to customers,” said Matthew Cherewka, business development and solutions design manager for Vecna Robotics. “Our combined expertise in cutting-edge robotics and supply chain solutions allows this partnership to deliver significant advances in the supply chain industry. We look forward to continuing to grow together.”

The orchestration system helps optimize and organize daily robot work orders, and allocate the work to the correct vehicle based on priority, location, and availability, Vecna said. The software can also use machine learning algorithms to track vehicles, providing companies with data-driven insights to create a continuous improvement cycle over time, it added.

“Innovation and introducing new technology into our operations is a strategic focus area at GEODIS,” said Kevin Stock, senior vice president of engineering at GEODIS. “Vecna’s offering allows us to enhance the work experience for our teammates by placing their work where they need it to operate more efficiently. Vecna’s technology and orchestration systems have proved very useful in this operation, and we look forward to expanding our partnership.”

GEODIS is no stranger to utilizing robots at their facilities. The company worked with Locus Robotics on a picking pilot at an Indianapolis distribution facility, and Delta Drone on using drones in a warehouse to assess inventory.