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Ahold Delhaize Scales Up DC Exosuits

July 6, 2021

The ADUSA Supply Chain network, as a result of successful pilots of the use of an innovative wearable technology that enhances the safety and effectiveness of grocery distribution center associates is scaling up. Over the past year, the wearable robotic systems, developed by Verve Motion and known as exosuits, were used for millions of lifts of product. Based on positive feedback from wearers, the pilot will be scaled up to include more than 250 suits in affiliated distribution centers.

“Selecting product in a distribution center is very physical work, and not only is it very physical, but it’s also critical,” said Chris Lewis, President, ADUSA Supply Chain. “The associates in grocery distribution centers are nothing short of superheroes who keep product flowing through the supply chain to physical and digital store shelves and ultimately to consumers’ tables. This has never been further demonstrated than during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re proud to pilot solutions like this one that enable us and our partners to care for the workforce in distribution centers by helping associates reduce fatigue, work more effectively and reduce the likelihood of injuries.”

A breakthrough product, Verve’s system is the first lightweight, powered soft exosuit designed for the industrial worker. The device reduces strain on a selector’s back by 30 to 40 percent during a typical workday. This means that each 22-pound item feels like 14 pounds, a reduction that really adds up over a shift, a week or a year. During the pilot, feedback from wearers has been positive with a vast majority reporting reduced fatigue, soreness and better posture.

“Essential workers such as food and delivery personnel have carried us through a very challenging time," said Ignacio Galiana, CEO of Verve Motion. “At Verve, our mission is to advance worker safety and performance to allow frontline workers to effectively execute their work, while focusing on their well-being. Our partnership with the ADUSA Supply Chain network and its affiliates has enabled us to demonstrate that our product can greatly reduce strain off a selector’s back, improve lifting form and lower fatigue. We are excited to partner with companies, who, like the ADUSA Supply Chain network and its partners, are as passionate about associate safety and well-being as our team. Together, we are seeing real and tangible benefits and further developing the distribution center of the future.”

The technology doesn’t require any complex integration, takes less than 30 seconds to put on and automatically adapts to the user and task. It also has ample battery life so it can be worn for an entire shift, including overtime.

“We look forward to continuing to innovate solutions to support the workforce as we continue to transform the supply chain,” added Lewis.

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