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Automation can have quite the opposite effect on industries experiencing major labor shortages. Architecture Building Empty236705(1) We live in an age where automation is advancing across nearly every industry. Self-driving trucks are being tested on our highways, drones are delivering packages, kitchen robots can whip up your favorite dish and robotic surgeons are performing complex surgeries. Along with these innovations come mounting fears over the future of the workforce. Some experts have predicted widespread unemployment in the coming years, with human workers being replaced by robotic counterparts and once-vital careers becoming obsolete. Automation, however, can have quite the opposite effect on industries experiencing major labor shortages. Technology can fill existing gaps in the workforce by taking over repetitive, strenuous or dangerous tasks—ultimately creating safer, more productive work environments for employees and driving the emergence of new, tech-driven job roles. In short, automation is not eliminating jobs; it’s improving them. Understaffed warehouses and overworked employees This is particularly true in the warehousing industry where available labor is scarce. Many of today’s facilities are struggling to retain staff as aging baby boomers retire in droves and young jobseekers show declining interest in material handling careers. In the 2019 MHI Annual Industry Report , 65 percent of survey respondents cited hiring qualified workers as extremely or very challenging, while an overwhelming 91 percent ranked it as at least somewhat challenging. Warehouse staffing shortages are further compounded by operational challenges surrounding e-commerce demands, SKU proliferation and seasonal order peaks. Altogether, these issues are particularly taxing on manual warehouses where all orders are picked, packed and shipped by hand. Existing staff need to work harder and faster, sometimes taking on extra hours and overnight shifts, just to keeps orders flowing out the door on time. The ergonomic risks involved in manual handling In a […]
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