The Women of Cyngn
In this Women's History Month podcast episode, Niki Bossonis hosts a discussion with a few Cyngn women. Listen now.
In this report, Cyngn quantifies the value that our AVs bring to GLF. See how a four week deployment at this 3PL led to a dramatic increase in efficiency.
In line with the global e-commerce boom, the warehousing industry is experiencing rapid growth and even industry stalwarts are struggling to scale their operations to meet burgeoning demand. Consequently, traditional labor resources are becoming scarce and more expensive.
Global Logistics & Fulfillment (“GLF”) is no stranger to these trends. For more than 25 years, the company has been a leading provider of distribution, fulfillment, and 3rd-party logistics (3PL) services. With warehouses in San Diego and Las Vegas, it maintains 300,000+ square feet of cumulative space for storage, packing, and assembly. Like many others in the industry, GLF’s customer base is constantly growing their warehouse footprint. Today, their facility has never been busier and the strain on their workforce has never been higher.
Facing rising labor costs and increasingly demanding customers, GLF sought an innovative solution to streamline their operations as safely as possible. Enter Cyngn and Columbia Vehicle Group’s new DriveMod-enabled Autonomous Stockchaser. After a brief integration period, the Autonomous Stockchaser supplemented GLF’s workforce to transport pallets around its Las Vegas facility. In only a four week pilot deployment period, the new Stockchaser was able to both significantly increase labor productivity and produce material cost savings.
Wondering whether your warehouse could benefit from autonomous vehicles? Find out here.
Deploying Cyngn’s DriveMod Autonomous Vehicle technology at GLF, involved a simple, yet robust set of steps:
Conduct a site assessment. First, Cyngn interviewed GLF’s operations managers to obtain a thorough understanding of GLF’s process flows. Then, Cyngn’s field engineers surveyed GLF’s facility to document the operational design domain (“ODD”) including the lighting, lane widths, and types of obstacles the vehicle could encounter. From this, Cyngn was able to identify transporting pallets from an order fulfillment station to the outbound shipping location as the optimal use case for the deployment.
Map the facility. In order for an AV to operate, it must know where it is within its environment. To accomplish this, Cyngn scanned the entirety of GLF’s facility to create a detailed virtual map.
Bring-up the vehicle. Once the map was created, Cyngn worked with GLF management to define the vehicle’s missions, which included the routes vehicles would take and the stops where pallets could be loaded and unloaded onto the vehicle.
Train key personnel. Finally, before the vehicle was brought into full autonomous operation, Cyngn trained GLF employees on safe use of the vehicle. Then, it was seamlessly integrated into their daily workflow.
Throughout the deployment period, Cyngn rigorously collected data on vehicle usage and labor productivity to calculate cost savings.
“Working with Cyngn on an autonomous vehicle implementation really opened our eyes to endless possibilities and it’s part of what we’re trying to plan for in the future. I didn’t realize how quickly my team would become accustomed to the autonomous vehicle. It got to the point where when the pilot was over a lot of our team looked around and said ‘Hey! Where’s the vehicle? Where’s the vehicle?’ ”
- Kenn Morris, Vice President - Global Logistics & Fulfillment
Throughout the four-week pilot deployment period, the DriveMod-enabled Autonomous Stockchaser produced:
33% increase in labor productivity in comparison to electric pallet jack usage. This allowed GLF employees to focus more time on critical tasks within their operations such as pallet creation, order fulfillment, and customer support.
64% reduction in human labor cost per pallet created in comparison to forklift usage. In a typical warehousing operation, total annual savings could exceed $100,000 given sufficient pallet throughput.
Introduction of the Autonomous Stockchaser delivered supplemental benefits as well. The vehicle provided GLF management with real-time data and reporting on operational analytics, created a safer working environment for GLF employees, and enabled further growth of GLF’s client base. Lastly, the Stockchaser served as a visible sign of GLF’s commitment to innovation, empowering them to continue surpassing their clients’ expectations.
Learn more about both our deployment at Global Logistics & Fulfillment and our partnership with the Columbia Vehicle Group here.
Cyngn is capable of integrating its DriveMod technology within a wide variety of environments tailored to your use case specifications.
Have a project in mind? Reach out to us here.
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Podcast Episode Transcript:
Luke Renner: This is Advanced Autonomy. I'm Luke Renner.
Well, today we've got some really exciting news. So Cyngn recently conducted a study on the productivity gains that our client, Global Logistics and Fulfillment, enjoyed after deploying Cyngn’s self-driving, autonomous industrial vehicle, to their warehouse.
Today we welcome Jacob Green, he's a business manager here at Cyngn. He conducted the study, and today we're going to dive into the results.
Hi, Jacob, welcome to the show.
Jacob Green: Hi, Luke. Thanks for having me.
Luke Renner: Yeah. I'm glad you're here.
So, I don't want to bury the lead too much here, but you recently conducted the study on the productivity gains at Global Logistics and Fulfillment. What did you find?
Jacob Green: Yeah, so we were able to increase their labor productivity by 33% when compared to using an electric pallet jack to move pallets across their facility. And we produced a 64% reduction in labor costs compared to using a forklift. So essentially, we enable them to do more by spending less.
Luke Renner: Okay. So I'd like to dive into that a little bit more. Global Logistics and Fulfillment, they're a client of ours. Before we get into the study, I just want to get some context. So can you tell me a little bit about who they are and what they do?
Jacob Green: Yeah, sure. So, Global Logistics and Fulfillment, or GLF for short, they're a third party logistics company that operates out of Las Vegas and San Diego. They've been in business for a long time, just over 25 years. They maintain over 300,000 sq.ft of warehousing space, and their Las Vegas facility in particular, where we conducted our pilot deployment, has just about 250,000 sqft.
Luke Renner: Okay. And so for those who might not quite understand, what is a third party logistics company?
Jacob Green: Sure. So their customers could be ecommerce businesses, they could be people just looking for, businesses, looking for storage of different inventory items. Essentially, they help them do order fulfillment and shipping and freight as well, in addition to warehousing.
Luke Renner: So manufacturers send their goods to GLF, GLF stores the goods, handles fulfillment and makes sure it gets shipped to their end users and customers. is that right?
Jacob Green: Yes, exactly.
Luke Renner: Okay, so as you were kind of on site assessing their needs and trying to find a way that our self-driving technology could help them, what challenges did they tell you that they've been facing in their business?
Jacob Green: Yes, first and foremost, they've been growing. So it's a good challenge to have, every business wants to grow. But more and more warehouse space was getting used up by more and more goods from more and more customers.
And this is really representative of the industry more broadly, thanks to the boom in ecommerce. But at the same time, they're not immune to some of the challenges that are plaguing the rest of the industry. And most notably, the shortage of labor resources was the big one. So they were looking for an innovative solution that would continue to enable their business growth, streamline their operations as well as reduce costs and improve labor stability.
Luke Renner: Okay, so that seems like quite the role for Cyngn.
Jacob Green: Yeah, exactly. It just so happens that autonomous vehicles can provide all those benefits.
Luke Renner: Okay. So they're facing all these shortages with labor, their supply chain issues. There's all these challenges that this industry is facing, and it's affecting them as a business as well. So what did Cyngn do for GLF to help them solve some of the challenges that they've been facing?
Jacob Green: So we have partnered with the fantastic folks at the Columbia Vehicle Group to deploy our Enterprise Autonomy Suite, essentially the software that enables vehicles to drive autonomously onto their stock chaser vehicles. And due to GLFsl pallet throughput the size of their facility, we decided that the stock chaser vehicle was actually the optimal solution for their operation.
So after a brief integration period, the autonomous stock chaser supplemented GLF's workforce and was transporting pallets around their facility throughout a four week deployment period.
Luke Renner: Okay. So you guys launched a pilot program using Columbia Vehicle Groups stock chaser, and it was driving itself throughout the facility.
Jacob Green: That's right.
Luke Renner: You mentioned the integration process. I'd like to dive into that a little bit. What was the integration process like?
Jacob Green: Yeah, so it's actually fairly straightforward.
First, we come on site to assess what we call an operational design domain, or ODD for short. Essentially, that's the characteristics of the environment the vehicle would be operating in. So we need to understand the lighting, the size of the lane widths, the types of obstacles the vehicle could encounter.
Then we also look at the process itself that we’d be augmenting. With the autonomous vehicle we need to understand the impact on the broader operation and uncover any additional efficiencies.
After that, we map the facility. So in order for an autonomous vehicle to operate, it must be able to localize, which means that it knows where it is within its environment. To accomplish that, we scanned the entirety of GLF’s facility to create a very detailed virtual map.
Once the map is created, we worked with management to define the vehicle's missions. So these are the routes that the vehicle would take. The stops where pallets could be loaded, unloaded, as well as any restricted areas of the vehicle should not be operating in.
Luke Renner: Okay, so that makes sense. So you did the integration process, you mapped their facility, you got the vehicle up and running and working for them. What did the vehicle actually do at the facility for their workflow?
Jacob Green: Yeah. So the vehicle was towing the pallets. So instead of having a forklift or an electric pallet jack moving pallets around the facility, we use a mother daughter cart system, which maybe you have seen in some of our videos on cyngn.com. Essentially, it was just towing carts. Operators would build pallets on top of the carts, push the cart onto the vehicle, and the vehicle would take it away wherever it needed to be.
Luke Renner: Got it. So operators were building the pallets. They were fulfilling the orders, essentially. And then once the pallet was full, they would load it onto the vehicle, hit a couple of buttons, and then the vehicle would go off to its next station.
Jacob Green: Yes. Not even a couple of buttons Luke, just one button.
Luke Renner: Okay. One button, and then it would go off to its next station. Okay.
So we talked about the results at the top of the episode, right? A 33% increase in productivity when compared to the electric pallet jack, and a 64% reduction in per pallet human labor costs when compared to using a forklift.
So basically, of all the tools that people could use to move goods across the warehouse, the self driving vehicle ended up being the most efficient.
Jacob Green: That's right. Yeah. Not only most efficient, but a little bit cheaper as well. And in addition to the financial benefits Luke, the vehicle provides GLF management and many of our customers with real time data and reporting on operational analytics.
They can see where their bottlenecks are. They could see how the vehicle is performing. It creates a safer working environment, and most importantly, it enables their staff to focus more time on value added tasks like order fulfillment, customer support. Essentially, they just don't need to be spending time moving pallets around the facility. They can do the things that make the business run.
Luke Renner: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. So to that point, we actually have some tape of Kenn Morris. He's the VP of Global Logistics and Fulfillment, and here is what he had to say about this engine deployment.
Kenn Morris: One of the, I guess, surprising things for us or for me when we did this project, I didn't realize how quickly the team would actually start becoming accustomed to the autonomous vehicle. It got to be the point that when the pilot was over, a lot of our team basically looked around and said, hey, where's the vehicle? Where's the vehicle?
And so they not only were able to help the program to make sure that it stopped a certain amount of time and were able to load up their products easily onto it, but really did kind of work it into their daily operations and were using it enough that they complained about it when the pilot stopped.
Luke Renner: Jacob, bringing this to a close. Presumably, GLF is going to continue beyond the pilot with an autonomous vehicle deployment permanently. Is that right?
Jacob Green: Yes. So we're in the process of finalizing those discussions, but what I can say is, since the pilot, we've integrated a lot of their feedback into our product design. So the vehicle that they would receive for the full deployment will have even better hardware and more refined software.
Luke Renner: I want to touch on something that you mentioned a little earlier, which is this idea that by deploying an autonomous vehicle, we're actually shifting workers to other higher value tasks.
Jacob Green: That’s right.
Luke Renner: And I'm just wondering what was the experience for the workers at the facility? Did they enjoy using it? Did they find it easy to use? Did they have any concerns that this might displace them? Like, what was the feedback you were getting on the ground as this thing was looping around the facility?
Jacob Green: Yeah, the feedback was fairly overwhelmingly positive. One sentiment was the fact that GLF's facility is just so big, walking around it isn't exactly the most fun thing to do. You get tired, you're on your feet all day. It's much easier to be doing pick and pack, to be doing order fulfillment. And the software itself, the fact that you only have to click one button to either call the vehicle or send it to wherever it needs to go, made it very easy to use in terms of labor displacement.
At least at GLF’s facility, the vehicle would not be displacing any employees. The goal, like you said, Luke, is to increase the amount of value-added tasks performed by the employees and to remove then moving the pallets around the facility itself. So spending more time doing order fulfillment means they can fulfill more orders for more customers essentially.
Luke Renner: Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, so we are coming up at the end of the episode, so now is the time for you to plug us. So if someone's interested in learning more about our self-driving vehicles, what should they do?
Jacob Green: Cyngn.com is a great resource. Tons of information on there about industrial autonomous vehicle deployments, the autonomous vehicle industry as a whole.
We're also releasing an ROI calculator shortly so organizations can estimate the value drive mode can bring to their organization. If you're interested in seeing our vehicles in action, I recommend you go to our YouTube page, also linked on cyngn.com. Lots of great content on there.
Luke Renner: Cool. All right, Jacob, it's been fun. Thanks a lot for your time. I really appreciate it.
Jacob Green: Thanks for having me Luke.
In this Women's History Month podcast episode, Niki Bossonis hosts a discussion with a few Cyngn women. Listen now.
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