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Kenco Logistics: Mass Expansion for Leading 3PL Provider

The Innovation Labs empowers customers, including Whirlpool Corporation, to optimise their supply chains and achieve digital transformation

|Nov 23|magazine10 min read

Earlier this week, Kenco Logistics, a leading third-party logistics (3PL) provider, celebrated its Innovation Labs’ first year in its expanded warehouse space. This year alone, Kenco’s Innovation Labs have tested and created new technologies that have identified over US$5mn in savings for customers and successfully launched DaVinci AI, Kenco’s proprietary advanced analytics product.

With solutions including data-driven robotics, augmented reality, drones, vision picking, automation, and employee engagement mobile apps, the solutions executed at the Innovation Labs have empowered customers to transform their supply chains. Working with a rich ecosystem of partners, Kenco’s Innovation Labs provide customers with a large selection of digitally transformative solutions. Kenco’s innovation specialists help them shape their products by providing regular feedback on functionality, connectivity, user experience, and how each technology will work best for customers in their supply chains. One example of a positive partnership is the Innovation Labs’ collaboration with Whirlpool Corporation to improve the company’s inventory accuracy.

Whirlpool’s Offering

“Kenco had a track record of bringing us innovative ideas that were out of the box,” said Brian Tomchick, senior manager of operations at Whirlpool Corporation. “We knew we needed to make a substantial change, so a partner that had already established that credibility with us was a natural fit to move forward. Having a trusted partner to take this risk with, the credibility that we had with them, the fact that it was comforting that they thought it was a good idea and we were going in the right direction, really allowed us to do something that if I was totally honest, we probably wouldn’t have done on our own.”

The Innovation Labs’ expanded space is a crucial component of Kenco’s role as a trusted industry advisor, providing agnostic opinions on what will truly move the needle for customers. The 10,000-square-foot facility on the campus of Kenco’s corporate headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, serves as a real-world warehouse setting where innovation specialists explore emerging technologies by researching and testing solutions for Kenco customers, averaging 20 new projects a year. Once tested, these technologies are moved to implementation to drive efficiency, employee engagement, safety, and cost savings for customers. Recent successes delivered by the Labs include:

Saving’s Projection

— US$120,000 in annual savings for a global consumer goods customer using a custom combination of start-up technology to transform and increase the accuracy of their inventory management.

— US$50,000 in annual savings for a construction machinery and equipment customer by digitising the kitting audit process with a customer application and dashboard.

— US$40,000 in annual savings for a large consumer product goods (CPG) customer in sanitation costs after implementing Avidbots technologies in their facilities.

— US$177,000 in annual savings for an appliance manufacturer transforming visual management into real-time digital signage to drive proactive dock management and improve door turn times.

“Within the first year of our Innovations Labs expansion, we’ve seen our customers achieve success throughout their supply chains, discovering broad new technology applications,” said Kristi Montgomery, VP of Innovation, Research, and Development at Kenco Logistics. “Our customers are more committed to digital transformation than ever and often come to us first when looking for technology adoption guidance. This year’s work included helping customers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with contact tracing, automated temperature capture and reporting, robotic cleaning devices, and 3D printing protective gear, as well as virtual tour capabilities. The agile and flexible nature of our Innovation Labs means we can deliver solutions that quickly address customers’ changing needs with a broad range of emerging technologies.”

Currently, Kenco’s Innovation Labs are finalising a project with LogistiVIEW to fine-tune its vision picking technology and deliver enhanced picking accuracy and productivity savings for customers. Working with the Labs, LogistiVIEW’s vision picking solution was vigorously tested with Kenco seeing significant accuracy improvement in the early stages of implementation. Through this collaboration, LogistiVIEW achieved its performance goals, and Kenco fortified its ability to provide customers with another industry-leading innovation. Once completed, project results will be shared as part of Kenco’s commitment to advance the digital transformation of supply chains.

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