MSC Automated Packing Application

With Plus One Robotics, MSC has deployed a patent-pending 3D-vision and AI-enabled robotic packing system in its Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, customer fulfillment center and now plans to implement the system across its five major centers.


Doug Jones:

One of the things that we’re looking at in terms of driving costs out on the innovation side is robotics. We have partnered with PlusOne Robotics.

What we’ve been able to accomplish together is we’ve been able to stand up a robot that is serving as a packing operator in our Harrisburg facility. It’s currently packing about 600 orders a day. If that robot gets stuck trying to do a task, we actually have a human that we call a crew chief that is back in San Antonio, Texas at our PlusOne Robotics headquarters. It sees what the robot sees through its vision. And we’ll tell the robot how to pick up an item. As we get more and more trials in front of that robot, that robot becomes smarter and smarter.

We’re not putting robots into replace all of our great associates in our distribution centers. We see applications in our distribution centers where there’s just not a lot of value add that a human brings, repetitive tasks, maybe, you know, things that are ergonomically, not fun. So we’re looking to put robots in those types of places. So we can take our valuable associates and put them in more value-added type of positions.

As we think about our goal to take cost out of our supply chain. Innovation and technology, like robotics, is going to be a big part of our future. We’re going to have to continue to look for ways that we can leverage this type of technology to help us become leaner and meaner so that we can compete at a high level.