Lead Forensics

Automation should not replace warehouse workers

A new report has concluded that warehouse automation should augment and secure workers’ jobs rather than replace them.

“Warehouse Automation: Future Proofing the Global Economy” is a report written by Futurum Research that was commissioned by Honeywell. It focuses on the importance of warehouse automation in helping warehouses and distribution centres meet increasing consumer demand as ecommerce sales grow.

Some experts have predicted that automated systems will replace human workers. However, not all tasks need to be automated in order to maintain an efficient warehouse. The report sees that the future of warehouses is one where workers and automated processes are both needed and must co-exist. For example, automated guidance systems can pinpoint exact item locations and use visual or audio signals to enable workers pushing picking trolleys to quickly find inventory. A key part of making warehouses more efficient is considering what tasks are better automated, and which ones remain assigned to workers.

The report also examines how the Covid pandemic, regional conflicts and other global trade issues have disrupted warehouse logistics, making it difficult to predict the movement of goods in the supply chain and the amount of warehouse capacity that is needed. This should not prevent logistics operators from making long-term plans in conjunction with their warehouse equipment suppliers.

A successful logistics operation is a partnership between the warehouse equipment manufacturer who supplies manual handling and storage equipment, and manufacturers of automated warehouse systems such as Honeywell who have developed systems to make order processing quicker and more accurate.

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