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DHL Japan deploys AGVs in its warehouse

Zafirah Salim | Oct. 19, 2015
This deployment is expected to improve accuracy and speed of locating and transporting goods, as well as serve as a solution to help solve labour shortage issues for the logistics industry.

DHL Supply Chain, contract logistics solutions provider, has introduced an automated guided vehicle (AGV) in one of its warehouses in Japan.

According to a media statement, the deployment of AGVs in the warehouse is expected to improve accuracy and speed of locating and transporting goods, generating estimated efficiency gains of around 785 working hours or more during peak season.

The AGV "KEY CART", made by Toyota Industries Corporation, started operating in the DHL Supply Chain warehouse from mid-August following a test run. With the AGV operating a maximum payload of 100 kg (maximum towing capacity of 500 kg) at a speed of up to 50 meters per minute inside the warehouse, DHL Supply Chain is able to increase the efficiency of warehouse operations by having the AGV convey goods between picking, packing and shipping areas.

"The introduction of an AGV was triggered by an improvement proposal from an operations team," said Gavin Murdoch, President and Representative Director of DHL Supply Chain in Japan. "As there is concern over labour shortages particularly during busy seasons, automation using unmanned vehicles is an important initiative. A focus on continuous work-site improvement is one of DHL Supply Chain's biggest strengths and the introduction of the AGV clearly represents our commitment to pursuing the highest level of efficiency at our warehouses."

"While it is rare for AGVs to be used at warehouses by logistics companies, we believe they will be able to contribute significantly to the logistics industry which is in need of labour-saving solutions," added Hiroaki Asai, Senior Managing Officer of Toyota L&F Company, Toyota Industries Corporation. "The key features of the KEY CART are its ease of use as one of the tools for improvement by customer itself, and also the multitude of ways it can transport goods."

With plans to change the warehouse layout in September, DHL Supply Chain will push ahead a series of improvement activities, such as setting up additional locations for the AGVs to operate within the warehouse and adopting it for return logistics, as well as introducing additional AGVs after further evaluation.

DHL Supply Chain will also proactively explore and embrace cutting-edge technologies including wearable devices that are already being used in logistics, in an effort to further improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.


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