From Robots to Running Shoes

From Robots to Running Shoes

With homebound consumers buying new shoes and gear like never before, DHL Supply Chain and Locus Robotics helped Brooks Running race to meet consumer demand and prepare for future growth.

The Challenge

Brooks Running is the number-one brand in performance running in the United States, and pre-pandemic, they sold 90% of their units through a retail store.

When the pandemic shut down brick-and-mortar stores in March 2020, Brooks thought they might have to slow their pace.

Then, people stuck at home during lockdowns started running, walking, and buying new shoes and gear like never before.

Though Brooks had been developing an omnichannel strategy for years, they needed to ramp up their direct-to-consumer channels quickly to meet the spike in e-commerce demand.

The Solution

To help navigate the shift to direct-to-consumer and manage e-commerce distribution, Brooks opened a new distribution facility in July 2020.

The company turned to its 3PL partner, DHL Supply Chain, and its e-commerce experience and knowledge of emerging technologies, to help maximize the value of its supply chain and deliver on increasing consumer expectations and demand.

Drawing on its deep experience, DHL Supply Chain knew LocusBots from Locus Robotics—often called collaborative robots or “cobots”—provided many immediate benefits and needed to be a part of the solution for Brooks.

LocusBots could be up and running quickly, and associates at the site could be easily trained to work alongside them within the first shift on the job. They also reduce order cycle times, allowing associates to pick and pack orders to get products into consumers’ hands more quickly.

DHL knew associates enjoyed working with the technology for several additional reasons—a less physically taxing work experience with less walking and without having to push heavy carts; worker engagement and motivational opportunities through Locus’s innovative built-in gamification feature; and powerful, real-time management visibility into operational productivity and workflow progress.

Most importantly, LocusBots give Brooks the ability to quickly scale up or down, depending on consumer demand and as the business grows.

DHL Supply Chain’s collaboration with Locus Robotics has successfully helped Brooks capitalize on the 27% year-over-year increase in volume they experienced and strongly positioned them for future growth.

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