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First UPS Innovation Center to Accelerate Digital Supply Chain Solutions

UPS Supply Chain Solutions (UPS SCS) has opened its first innovation center globally, connecting businesses in Asia with emerging technologies in logistics.

Located in Singapore, the UPS SCS Asia Pacific Innovation Centre will see UPS collaborating with strategic partners to incubate, test and deploy next-generation technology to help businesses accelerate their digitalization journey. Digital transformation is the main disruptor in the logistics industry and will account for $1.72 trillion in investments allocated to logistics by 2025, UPS SCS said, citing data from the World Economic Forum.

Even prior to the ongoing supply chain crunch, UPS said it has invested $1 billion a year on technology and innovation, from augmented reality to autonomous robots and drones. This is especially relevant for the Asia Pacific region, where companies are increasing investments in warehouse automation technologies to enhance productivity and competitiveness.

“The Asia Pacific Innovation Centre is our dedicated platform to bring next-generation technologies and solutions to life collaboratively with our customers. Nearly two years of pandemic-related disruptions have led to extensive shifts in the way companies and consumers source and receive goods, as well as sped up long-anticipated trends, such as the adoption of e-commerce and at-home consumption,” said Philippe Gilbert, president of UPS SCS. “UPS’s spirit of being bold and unstoppable guides our focus on innovative and customer-first solutions for supply chain resilience. The Asia Pacific Innovation Centre represents our commitment to accelerate the application of emerging digital technologies that reimagine and redefine a new normal for our customers in Asia and across the global supply chain.”

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The center consists of specialized zones that include a mock-up of a warehouse for real-time demonstrations of the latest technology, as well as dedicated areas in a real warehouse for hands-on pilot collaborations with customers.

UPS envisions the innovation center to be a testbed to explore and implement new technologies that have yet to be deployed on a large scale. UPS is already in close collaboration with customers and leading technology partners to converge innovations such as autonomous mobile robots (AMR), radio-frequency identification (RFID), and drones. These technologies will narrow efficiency gaps in supply chains, and streamline inbound and outbound logistics operations, order fulfillment, and inventory checks.

“In a business as complex as supply chain management, collaboration is key,” Sebastian Chan, president of UPS SCS in Asia Pacific, said. “Working with our industry partners such as Geek+, we continue to bring forth innovations that help businesses of all sizes apply value-adding digital solutions at any stage of their growth.”

UPS is the first to deploy the Geek+ RoboShuttle RS-5 tote-picking robot in Singapore. It features extended-depth bin-to-person picking capability that saves close to 50 percent of warehouse space and uses artificial intelligence algorithms for order analysis and robot scheduling, increasing overall productivity, accuracy and warehouse density.

Plans for the Asia Pacific Innovation Centre include collaborating with academia for in-depth supply chain research technology, sharing industry best practices, and expanding UPS’s innovation center to other parts of the world.