Intelligent Robotics Help Keep Our Employees Safe

Phil Shaw, Divisional Operations Director, Supply Chain – Europe | June 8, 2020

Physical distancing measures will necessarily be a fixture in the workplace for the foreseeable future. We are all much more conscious of the risk of physical interaction, especially in the workplace, and companies will continue doing what’s needed to help prevent any further spread of the Coronavirus.

For employers, that means safety first – as always – with focused virus-related protocols to limit contact between employees and prevent cross-contamination via shared equipment and workspaces. At the same time, we need to maintain a practical, efficient and comfortable environment for all our employees.

In a highly manual work environment like warehousing, this might have been thought of as an almost insurmountable challenge. However, since this health crisis started, we have adapted rapidly and successfully by introducing additional safety measures at our XPO sites across Europe. We have done so in collaboration with our colleagues and customers, and have maintained efficiency and top-notch customer service.

While this wasn’t easy, what helped enormously was adapting our intelligent automation technologies to support our pandemic protocols. Pre-Coronavirus, robotics and cobotics, for example, were already mainstays of our operations.

Now, these technologies are enabling us to limit personal interactions in the warehouse to those that are essential and that can be conducted safely. Beyond robots and cobots, goods-to-person and remote-vision systems have proven to be invaluable. These resources are helping us to organise the movement of people and products in the safest and most efficient way possible.

XPO works with a range of robotics and intelligent automation suppliers, so we are well-positioned to adapt technologies to meet whatever new challenges may lie ahead. This is not a standing start for our company or our people. We welcome the opportunity to lead in moving the post-pandemic world forward.