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New robots help Mansfield distribution center workers become more productive, less fatigued

New robots help Mansfield distribution center workers become more productive, less fatigued
New robots help Mansfield distribution center workers become more productive, less fatigued 02:15

MANSFIELD -- At a time when businesses are struggling to find workers, a Mansfield distribution warehouse just brought on eight new ones. But these are robots giving current employees a big boost.

Warehouse workers at "Top Notch" used to spend hours walking the warehouse floor, lifting heavy boxes, and pushing carts.

That's all changed with the addition of new autonomous robots from fulfillment solutions company 6 River Systems.

The robots that zoom around the warehouse, tell employees how many of each item is needed, where the items can be found, and how to organize them.

Fallout from the pandemic has left many businesses with a labor crunch and this collaboration between Top Notch and 6 River Systems allows them to make jobs less stressful, both physically and mentally.

"From a fatigue perspective, you don't want your pickers walking any more than they need to," said Gillan Hawkes, the Vice President of Product and Analytics at 6 River Systems. "So, benefit to both the associate and a benefit to the operation."

Top Notch warehouse manager Bob Wallace said productivity has more than doubled with pickers going from 300 items a day to 700.

Time and energy are also saved by an algorithm grouping items together to be picked and sending the robots to specific zones.

"Operators can do more with the same number of associates," says Hawkes. "Because those associates are happier. They're satisfied, less fatigued."

And employees we spoke to agree it has been a game-changer.

"Instead of pushing a cart along with heavy stuff on it and then you have to go up and lift the boxes," said worker Joey. "With these robots, it's the greatest thing that ever happened."

6 River Systems said employees training to work with the robots is simple and only takes a few minutes.

The Top Notch warehouse plans to add more robots to its fleet in the coming months.

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