UPS Supply Chain Solutions (UPS SCS) announced it has officially opened its first innovation centre globally, connecting businesses in Asia with emerging technologies in logistics. Located in Singapore, the UPS SCS Asia Pacific Innovation Centre will see UPS collaborating with strategic partners to incubate, test, and deploy next-generation technology. Consisting of specialized zones that include a mock-up of a warehouse for real-time demonstrations of the latest technology, as well as dedicated areas in a real warehouse for hands-on pilot collaborations with customers.
Technology as an enabler for supply chain resilience
Prior to the ongoing supply chain crunch, UPS has invested $1bn a year on technology and innovation, from augmented reality to autonomous robots and drones. This is especially relevant for the Asia Pacific region, where companies are increasing investments in warehouse automation technologies to enhance productivity and competitiveness.
“The Asia Pacific Innovation Centre is our dedicated platform to bring next-generation technologies and solutions to life collaboratively with our customers. Nearly two years of pandemic-related disruptions have led to extensive shifts in the way companies and consumers source and receive goods, as well as sped up long-anticipated trends, such as the adoption of e-commerce and at-home consumption,” said Philippe Gilbert, President, UPS SCS and Sebastian Chan, President, UPS SCS in Asia Pacific.
A launchpad for supply chains of the future
UPS reported that the innovation centre will be a testbed to explore and implement new technologies that have yet to be deployed on a large scale. UPS collaborates with customers and leading technology partners to converge innovations such as autonomous mobile robots (AMR), radio-frequency identification (RFID), and drones. Collaborations aim to narrow efficiency gaps in supply chains, and streamline inbound and outbound logistics operations, order fulfilment, and inventory checks.
UPS claims to be the first to deploy the Geek+ RoboShuttle RS-5 tote-picking robot in Singapore. It features extended-depth bin-to-person picking capability which saves close to 50% of warehouse space and uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for order analysis and robot scheduling, thus increasing overall productivity, accuracy, and warehouse density.
UPS stated that by pairing Geek+ P800 transportation robots to perform heavy lifting and point-to-point movements with split-second multi-package RFID scanning in warehouse operations, businesses can benefit from faster turnaround and achieve higher throughput in less time.
“The compatibility and modular nature of such AMR and RFID technologies means businesses from across the region can collaborate with UPS and our partners to explore countless ways to automate and optimize their supply chains according to their unique needs,” added Chan.
According to the company, these technologies also complement the UPS Supply Chain Symphony portal, giving customers access to a comprehensive digital ecosystem that provides near real-time end-to-end visibility of supply chain performance.
Plans for the Asia Pacific Innovation Centre include collaborating with academia for in-depth supply chain research technology, sharing of industry best practices, and expansion of UPS’s innovation centre to other parts of the world.