Lead Photo: A look across UPS’ 900,000-square-foot UPS Velocity warehouse outside of Louisville, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of UPS.
Parcel delivery giant UPS opened the company’s largest warehouse on Nov. 15 on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky, where robots are expected to dominate the workflow.
At over 900,000 square feet, the $79 million UPS Velocity facility will primarily be operated by more than 3,000 robots by some point in 2024, which will fetch products, perform inventory management tracking tasks and help to increase the speed and accuracy of order processing. A Nov. 15 UPS blog stated that the warehouse opened with over 700 robots in operation, with that figure expected to triple in the next year.
Meanwhile, the facility opened with a staff of only about 200 workers — a figure that is expected to eventually scale to 500. At that point, robots would outnumber humans 6-to-1.
UPS President of Supply Chain Solutions Bill Seward told Bloomberg that the robots help increase worker retention by about 30% and reduce injuries from manual labor by 40%. Utilizing AI and automation, the facility is expected to process more than 350,000 packages per day.
“It’s a linchpin of our strategy,” Seward told Bloomberg about the automated space. “It’s important to be able to deliver best-in-class cost and best-in-class service for your customers.”
Bloomberg reported that sales at UPS logistics unit jumped 11% in the first nine months of 2023, even as overall sales for its Supply Chain Solutions business fell more than 22% in that same period amid a cargo slump.