BUT, people will be your most important asset, and it will stay that way for a very, very long time!

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and an Oxford Economics report:

  • In the 10 years leading up to 2030 the U.S. will add about 6 million jobs
  • Automation may replace over 1.5 million jobs in the U.S.

The bottom line, jobs are likely to be created faster than technology will be introduced.

Humans are the most flexible “machine” in the distribution center. They can identify problems, make immediate corrections and deal with imperfection. The greatest advantage that people have (at least for now) may be the dexterity and the speed of their hands.

Reducing warehouse travel is the easiest problem to solve and has a quick ROI. Regardless of the solution chosen, people will be left to perform more of the bending, lifting and reaching. Robots and automation will do what they are good at, and it appears that people will be left to do much more of the activities that they are good at. In many cases, two to three times as much picking, packing and shipping duties.

Ergonomics and lift assist solutions should be a priority. We need to take care of our worker’s backs and shoulders.  We need to equip them with the best tools and provide leadership that will win their hearts and minds!

“People are your most important asset, and it is going to be that way for a very, very long time.”

Bob Whitmore

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