WBA Magazine

A helping hand during the holiday season

Colleagues at our Boots UK Burton warehouse keep up with customer demand, with assistance from some "cobot" friends 

By Hannah Robinson

Cobots at work

We could all use an extra pair of hands sometimes… but how about 200?

Recognizing Christmas shopping was going to be a little different in the middle of a pandemic, Boots UK embraced innovation by increasing the number of technologically advanced “cobots” (short for “collaborative robots”) in its Burton-on-Trent warehouse – the UK retailer’s main boots.com operation.

With more and more shoppers picking up their presents online, the Locus Robotics cobots work in tandem with colleagues to pick, pack and dispatch orders as quickly as possible. Not only have they cut down the distance that colleagues have to walk, but they have also helped to improve productivity during peak periods. During the Black Friday season alone (November 21 through December 2, 2020), the cobots helped pick over 3 million items.

“We saw a big increase in boots.com orders throughout November and our supply chain was working around the clock,” said Alan Penhale, Supply Chain Director at Boots UK. “Our warehouse teams worked especially hard to make sure we could keep up with demand.”

Discover how the collaborative robots helped Boots’ supply chain to keep up with the unprecedented demand during the holiday period in the video below.