How Automation Can Create Better Job Opportunities and Maximize Potential in Distribution centers
Automation has become synonymous with technological advancement, and attitudes are changing. With the recent rise of AI media coverage, many wonder, "Is AI here to replace my job?". While this is a valid concern, there are many cases where automation has become an essential tool and can even increase workers' collaboration and resource use to optimize their operational efficiencies to foster an environment that allows them to become more creative and solutions-focused.
This shift, particularly in distribution centers, has shown that AI is not here to take jobs away but to create more fulfilling and valuable roles that empower workers in their career development and output.
These are great questions that demand comprehensive answers.
Join us as we explore how automation revolutionizes distribution centers by providing flexibility and increased efficiency to your center's overall bandwidth.
Embracing Collaborative Automation
Automation is critical, particularly for tasks that are repetitive and dangerous. For specific tasks, AI automation can reduce the margin of error significantly. Since automation needs to be integrated appropriately before any evident benefits exist, many opportunities exist to embrace collaboration for your workers and your tools.
The synergistic approach is one of the most essential benefits between automation and your labor force. Workers will collaborate with intelligent machines and tools rather than the equipment they may be used to. As previously stated, automation can take over repetitive or routine tasks, significantly reducing the human error that comes with mundane movement and work.
Your staff is now free to tackle more stimulating and complex aspects of their job, which improves efficiency and highlights those who want to progress in their careers. By providing opportunities for professional development, you can motivate your employees to learn new skills and grow in their roles. This will also create a more collaborative work environment where employees can share their ideas and feedback with the management.
If your workers are constantly challenged and enabled to develop creative solutions, this will improve the overall business and make them much happier to show up for their shift. Additionally, you can offer unique benefits that cater to your employees' needs and preferences, such as flexible work arrangements, wellness programs, or recognition rewards. These benefits can help you emphasize your corporate social responsibility and show your employees that you care about their physical and mental health. Implementing these strategies can boost employee engagement and productivity in your organization.
Enhanced Skill Development
There is a fear that some entry-level workers will be replaced by "machines" and other tools that can perform jobs quickly and cheaply. The truth is, there is no shortage of problems at your distribution centers that require attention, immediate or otherwise.
Automation encourages workers to expand their capabilities by cross-training and upskilling to make them increasingly valuable to the workforce. As a whole, this is great for the worker and significantly impacts the industry.
Skill development increases profitability as a whole, both for the worker and the brand itself. Skill development is met with higher income opportunities, and employers can leverage these skills to increase their market share.
Automation is not only a way to increase efficiency and productivity, but also a solution to improve the quality of work and life for many workers.
Some jobs in the distribution centers are often referred to as 3D jobs, meaning they are dirty, dangerous, and difficult. These jobs expose workers to various hazards, such as dust, noise, heat, chemicals, heavy lifting, and repetitive motions. Automation can help reduce or eliminate these risks by taking over the most harmful or tedious tasks for humans.
Moreover, automation can also address the labor shortage problem that many distribution centers face, as 3D jobs are hard to fill and retain. By automating these jobs, distribution centers can save costs, improve safety, and enhance customer satisfaction. Therefore, automation is not only a matter of return on investment but also a matter of social responsibility and competitive advantage.
Empowering Engaged Workers
Automation can take the form of many different things. In your distribution center, this could mean a solution that replaces specific tasks associated with physical labor, such as storage & buffering. Automation is not limited to how fast or strong it can move your loads but can also enhance your efficiency through software and insights.
Your warehouse's optimal potential can be maximized using a proper solution that oversees the entire process. Software automation and similar tools offer workers data-driven insights and real-time data, which paints a prominent picture of the operations of your distribution center.
Leaders and supervisors can use this information and disseminate it to their workers to get a clear vision of the goal and task rather than focusing on mundane tasks without knowing where they fit within the organization. Your staff will take more ownership of their roles, enabling them to contribute more to the decision-making process significantly.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Working ON the business when you are working IN the business is a tricky thing to do. It's sometimes challenging to focus on any improvements needed when there is a constant inflow of work at hand and insufficient staff to take care of the workload.
With the help of data-driven insights and automation, your workers' skills can be better used, including their critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities. For example, if a worker was previously taking care of manual order fulfillment, they may be able to take a step back and get a clearer view of the problem. With automation supporting the fulfillment process, insights are much more likely to happen due to the presented data.
The worker can now think about improvements that can be made to shipping and lead times, faster turnaround, inspection, quality control, and other factors that require more delicate and complex attention.
Transforms Roles and Responsibilities
Automation doesn't replace jobs; it creates new opportunities that return old previously taken care of by entry-level workers. The invention of the tractor did not replace the need for farmers; They started to focus on quality improvements that they and their team could make for a more successful harvest.
The industrial revolution is an excellent example of the AI revolution's positive consequences on your workforce, including redefining their workday. Let's explore some below.
Management and Supervision
In a hypothetical world, even if machines, tools, and AI were to take care of every physical task, your workforce would still need to be kept intact to manage the output and take care of quality control and review. This way, workers can transform from operators into supervisors of more intelligent systems, increasing their job responsibilities and driving growth.
Management and senior management would need to welcome more staff into their ranks to keep up with the demand for more skilled labor and to oversee these processes. Of course, it also increases the need for a competitive edge, as it will be much more challenging to differentiate yourself when rival distribution centers are bidding for the same clients with a similar workforce.
In this case, you need bright individuals to increase your solutions-based approach.
Develop Specialized and Niche Skills
We've previously covered that AI and automation can take over mundane roles and do not necessarily mean your workforce will be out of a job. This does not only mean that the power of AI collaboration transforms functions within the industry but creates an entirely new skill set that will have your staff rising to the challenge.
Your workers will be encouraged to explore new ways of integrating technology and optimization, which can evolve in many ways besides supervision and management. Robotic solutions, for example, can be leveraged to do more than lift heavy things. Using a creative skill set, your workers can develop specialized skills to broaden these machines' scope and ensure smooth operational efficiency.
Transform your Workforce into a Well-Oiled Machine
AI and automation are far from displacing workers, ushering in a new era of collaboration in your distribution centers. This is done through increased critical thinking, empowerment, specialization of work, and freeing up valuable time and resources for other tasks that cannot be performed by software and machines.
AI tools also provide the necessary data that your workforce needs to develop anything you may have on the back burner, which can take the form of operation and specialized improvements to your warehouse, processes, or equipment.
As the industry continues to grow and involved, it is imperative to keep up with the times. Daifuku Wynright is an industry leader in fulfilling global innovation with integrated intelligence. If you are ready to transform your distribution center with cutting-edge technology and solutions, contact us today to learn how we can make you more competitive.