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Workforce challenges – ranging from outright shortage and attracting new talent to retention issues and turnover – are some of the most pressing issues or opportunities for warehouse managers. Not surprisingly, automation and robotics implementations are becoming more common for addressing these workforce challenges:
Automation and Robotics as a Solution
Robotics and automation solutions fill gaps created by shortages in human capital, but the greater solution is utilizing these technologies in overall process evaluation of manual movements. Automating highly labor intensive processes makes the need for additional human capital not necessary. Automation may not replace members of the workforce, but it can certainly ease pressures to better allocate human resources.
Key implementation of robotics and/or automation allows for employee enablement, labor allocation to address shortages in departments in need, and resource allotment to complicated tasks. When resources are issued to the most sensible, pressing need, employees will feel the positive impact of value added tasks.
What to Consider/Where to Start with Automation and Robotics Implementation
Key leaders in warehousing highly recommend these automated solutions to ease labor challenges (and consequential difficulties):
Automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS)
Integrated automated conveyor solutions
Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Warehouse Execution System (WES)
These systems and technologies, each designed to lessen time and workload, improve management information so decisions can be made easily and boost labor efficiency measures which close the gap when labor shortages are an issue.
A Combination Approach
Though automating processes and implementing a robotics solution can be extremely successful in addressing workforce challenges, the investment and implementation can be daunting. To start relieving labor challenges immediately, consider a combination approach, which recommends tactical actions. This includes additional training measures, additional resources for new employees, adaptable user interfaces which enable both new employees and streamline processes for tenured employees, and leveraging untapped labor pools.
Labor challenges will continue to burden warehouses, but deploying a supportive automation and robotics strategy, coupled with practical training tactics, could be the enablement your workforce needs to excel through new pressures.
While far-reaching implementation of Industry 4.0 may take years, if not decades, to become the next big industrial revolution, you don’t have to go “all in” to reap the benefits of analyzing and optimizing your warehouse and logistics operations. In fact, regardless of your path in embracing Industry 4.0 sensor technology, an iterative approach to getting your warehouse in order begins with assessing the dynamics of your space.
Not sure where to start? Sackett offers Battery Storage + Charging Area Assessments which provide a 12-point evaluation of your existing lift truck battery storage and charging footprint, as well as recommendations for increased battery optimization and equipment efficiency.
To get started on your path to Industry 4.0, reach out to our team for your FREE Battery Storage + Charging Area Assessment, at email@example.com, or 1-800-323-8332.