Industrial Revolution 2.0Monica Duong
The Rise of Warehouse Automation
The buzz in board rooms in America’s manufacturing and supply chain sectors is to do more with less, implement automated and robotics solutions that help reduce labor costs and create safer working environments.
The renewed sense of urgency and the challenge ahead for many companies is finding willing and qualified skilled labor for manual labor manufacturing and logistics jobs.
There are currently over two million jobs unfulfilled in the manufacturing and supply chain sectors due to an aging workforce and younger generation lacking desire for manual labor positions.
As manual labor jobs have been moved offshore in recent years, many companies have realized that overseas factories are highly automated including fully automated manufacturing and distribution facilities. As companies learn that the same automation can be used in America without the on-going challenges of import logistics and product quality disruptions, more on-shoring using automation will commence.
Workers that previously practiced manual material movement and redundant lifting can now be re-deployed to higher paying technical jobs, including: robotics installation, maintenance and on-going process improvement programs.
The challenge ahead for automation is to ensure the new labor force is trained to interface with machines on more of a technical and collaborative level. Companies are starting to adopt Apprenticeship programs in robotics design, manufacturing and maintenance with local community colleges, high schools and vocational training organizations so that college and non-college bound students can build a foundation of knowledge for their current and future employers.
Technical and vocational training will help those blue collar workers become value added technicians that work with robotics with the goal to reduce or eliminate redundant manual labor processes.
The manufacturing floor or logistics worker of the future will provide a hybrid of white and blue-collar skill sets creating a bottom up approach to process improvements.
As “Made in America” continues to hold and manufacturing remains on-shore, companies will need to consider industrial automation for pallet storage regarding in-bound raw material, buffer zones and finished goods areas.
Using Automated Industrial Robotics such as Pallet Shuttle and Glide Rack combined with Laser Guided Unmanned Vehicles (LGV) provides a low-cost, fast track implementation and modular storage potential for long term flexibility.
In reality, robotics and automation are expected to be the industry’s biggest game changer, as manufacturers and distributors will improve workers’ lives at the micro and macro levels.
As a result, the North American manufacturing sector will not only survive, but it will showcase the power of American innovation and ultimately revolutionize the way work gets done.