With the rise of e-commerce and the continuing development of technology it is no wonder that we are seeing more and more warehouses put two and two together, embracing technology to enhance logistical operations and expedite product delivery.
The AI revolution has brought with it many autonomous tools such as robots, voice direction headsets, scanners, drones, and self-driving vehicles which all serve to boost productivity and accuracy especially when working alongside their human counterparts.
While some may see this as a stepping stone towards a dramatic decline in work opportunities, conjuring a negative vision for what the future could look like, we see this as a positive opportunity for humans and robots to work together, placing logistics and warehousing at the forefront for technological advances and work place development.
Most technology is designed with human assistance in mind, making our lives easier, reducing our workload or at least the areas that require the most effort. A fine example of humans and technology working together is the Freight 500 from Fetch Robotics.This transportation robot is designed to carry up to 1,100 lbs around warehouses. What is so great is that they are designed to follow warehouse workers around as they complete their tasks picking goods from warehouse shelves assisting workers with their heavy load carrying duties.
AI technology is not always robots and drones, there are some instances where technology is implemented to assist the workforce in a more subtle way, instead of sharing your workload with a faithful robotic pet, in some cases your workload is analysed, calculated and optimised by technology behind the scenes before your pick list has even landed in your hands.
Systems that use Augmented Reality (AR) technology for optimised picking and warehouse planning can make significant improvements in warehouse operations. Reports show that with the use of AR systems, picking accuracy can improve by 40%.
From a human perspective if technology can alleviate the frustration of getting to a shelf and finding that the item that should be there, isn’t due to a simple recording error at the point of replenishment, or if it can provide you with some comfort, knowing that the route you are taking while picking products is not only the shortest but also the most efficient, how can a symbiosis of humans and technology not be a good thing? Who wants to walk an extra few miles if you don’t have to?
If we look to other countries who have already implemented technology into their supply chain logistics, it is clear to see that AI technology is the future of warehousing and that we are not too far behind the rest, so the question shouldn’t be “Are robots taking our jobs?” it should be “How can I develop my skills to work alongside technology?”
Well, we are glad you asked because we have 3 great ways you can upskill to make sure you are robot ready.
1. Learn the ropes, develop your knowledge and teachFor technology to work it has to learn. It is key for AI technology to blend logic with human nature to ensure it is designing and running a robust system that can cope with last minute changes, inaccuracies and fluctuations in productivity and staff levels. Who better to teach these robots about being human than a human, or more accurately a warehouse employee with a long- standing wealth of knowledge in the operations aspects of the role.
If you have the knowledge and experience that comes from a career in the warehousing industry you could find yourself assigned with some of the first prototype designs, testing them out and feeding back to designers with improvements and suggestions as your workplace starts to blend their workforce with tech.
Find out how you can take 4 easy steps to warehouse career success here.
2. Good with your hands?
One thing we all know about tech is that from time to time it can fail, usually at the most inopportune moment and in a warehouse manned solely by robots this could become a little counterproductive when none of them are programmed to be robot doctors.
This is one area where humans will always have the upper hand, and if you are good with yours then this could be a great opportunity for you to upskill into repairing and maintaining robots.
Many working environments will train their inhouse staff to look after the robots on an as-needed basis but if you want to take things up a level then you can opt to self-skill through courses like those provided by NobleProg
3. Take Control
Even robots need to report to someone, what else are they to do with all of the information they are processing? It is the role of a team leader, shift supervisor and warehouse manager to take the real time analytics on board, make the right decisions and distribute the workforce accordingly. Work your way up the warehouse career ladder and set your sites on a management role to maximise your employability and career longevity.
Download our free career path infographic to find out how to turn your warehouse job into a career.
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