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Human interaction still needed in automated warehouses, says tech expert

Siwaj Rojanatemsak, Country Manager of Thailand, Zebra Technologies Asia-Pacific, has recognised that automation has benefited warehouses, but he argues that now and in the foreseeable future, automated warehouses will still require human interaction.

Writing on the Thailand website The Nation, he said that customers are demanding quick delivery of ordered items. Computer systems can make sure that the most up-to-date inventory is available for pickers. The latest systems can scan barcodes from up to 70 feet away to quickly locate items.

Logistic software can automate the process of preparing goods for delivery. They can maximise loads so that each vehicle trailer is efficiently organised with the most efficient load.

The technologies described by Rojanatemsak are available now, but they do not replace humans, but rather make them more efficient. Human-driven forklift trucks and humans operating pick and pack trolleys are still required, but technology enables workers to locate items more quickly and to direct forklift trucks to the correct warehouse shelving areas. Human drivers are still required to drive the delivery vehicles that have been packed efficiently using automated systems.

Rojanatemsak recognises that the world of warehouse work is likely to change in the future. Driverless forklift trucks and delivery vehicles are being developed, and robots can pick items. Some jobs will be replaced, but other jobs will be created. Robots and driverless vehicles will require human supervision to run smoothly, with human minds remaining at the centre of logistics operations.

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