Sporting retailer Decathlon deploys AMRs at its Sydney fulfilment centre

European retail sporting giant Decathlon has deployed Körber’s AMR Goods-to-Person solution at its DHL managed fulfilment centre in Sydney. MHD investigates.

Decathlon, the world’s largest sports retailer, launched in Australia with an online store in mid-2016. The organisation opened its first physical store in Sydney in 2017 and has since opened additional stores in Melbourne and Sydney.

As part of its aggressive expansion in Australia and off the back of a significant rise in online consumers, Decathlon has partnered with global technology giant Körber and DHL Supply Chain to deploy a new Goods-to-Person robot solution.

With aspirations to offer two-hour deliveries in metropolitan cities, Decathlon has invested in its logistics operations to improve operational efficiency and fulfilment speed at its fulfilment centre in Sydney.

The Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), manufactured by global AMR manufacturer Geek+ and deployed at DHL by Körber, a market leader with an impressive AMR solutions track record in Asia Pacific, will support operators to efficiently pack more customer orders, reduce turnaround time and drive accuracy.

With more than 15,000 SKUs in its Sydney fulfilment centre, Decathlon needed an innovative and practical solution that could scale up its ability to fulfil customer orders without prohibitively increasing variable costs.

“The pandemic brought with it a surge in e-commerce demand, particularly for sporting goods as gyms and fitness facilities around Australia were forced to stop trading. Our aim is to continue delivering the exceptional service our customers have become accustomed to, regardless of the challenge,” Olivier Robinet, CEO, Decathlon Group Australia says.

Capable of moving at speeds of close to one metre per second, the robots will allow workers to despatch up to 144 customer orders per hour – more than double the productivity expected in a manual environment.

“We are excited to be growing our partnership with Decathlon Group, as we are for the opportunity to bring innovation to our customers. COVID-19 has placed enormous stress on supply chains everywhere. It’s our priority to work together with our customers to build more resilient and stress-resistant supply chains, including through the use of new technologies,” Saul Resnick, CEO, DHL Supply Chain Australia & New Zealand said.

The AMRs autonomously navigate their way within the warehouse, with the ability to locate and deliver items to pickers within 25 seconds. They can be flexibly deployed to support a diverse range of picking strategies, significantly minimising time spent on routine or physically demanding tasks, reducing manual errors and increasing productivity.

Present in more than 50 countries, Decathlon has over 1,600 stores globally and is familiar with the world of mobile automation, having previously implemented Geek+ AMRs at sites in China and Russia.

Körber, and DHL Supply Chain will deploy the first AMRs at Decathlon’s facility in Sydney, with a view to extend their use to more facilities around the country.

The team at Körber delivered the project in a record three months, enabling the retailer to capitalise on the e-commerce boom driven by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions across Australia.

Körber has had recent success with the same solution across Australia’s leading online retailers, including e-commerce heavy weight Catch Group.

Catch Group, part of the Wesfarmers Group, recently deployed the AMRs at its distribution centre in Truganina, Victoria. The AMR roll-out consists of more than 100 robots and is the largest deployment of its kind for an e-commerce marketplace in Australia and New Zealand.

The Körber AMR solution provides Catch with the ability to pick an additional 2,000 orders an hour and Decathlon is set to reap similar benefits from its deployment of this technology as it continues to meet the rising demand in online sales.




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