Far from destroying jobs, technology is enhancing them. As warehouses are digitized and become 'smart,' they are augmenting the roles of workers and making them 'smarter' too. They work more efficiently and are empowered to take (more) decisions. Greater efficiencies and improved decision making mean lower costs – a win-win in a world where warehouses are cost-centers.
Even though some jobs will be 'de-skilled,' two significant value propositions flow from the emergence of Smart Warehouses:
Image credit: Datexcorp
Smart warehouses are complex systems. Hence a coherent and comprehensive digital strategy is such an essential first step to completing the digitization of your warehouse and to integrating a truly 'connected worker.' A connected-worker 'warehouse' can add tremendous value to operations and output because they enable management to:
Let's take two most common examples of these in action: worker safety and inventory & asset tracking.
As the usage of IoT devices in warehouses to collect information about workers is beginning to increase exponentially, so too is the usage of wearables. We are likely at the beginning of a 'hockey stick' style trend in the adoption of wearables by warehouse workers. These technologies help prevent exhaustion and warn against impending dangers by monitoring human physical activity as part of connected infrastructure.
We are at the cusp of a generational shift to enhance safety to a level never before thought possible for manual labor. As wearable technologies integrate with existing warehouse applications, it becomes possible to map out the typical workday of a worker to demonstrate the parts in the chain where connected technology can measure and improve safety:
Besides, connected worker technology can aid in the following ways:
Performance analytics - These happen through a constant system of rapid feedback loops between workers, supervisors, and managers, as well as at the end of each day, to aid in performance, improved process flows, and efficiency gains.
Image credit: Oracle
Inventory & Asset Tracking
Wearable technologies such as glasses, gloves, hats, and suits are turning warehouse workers into cyborgs, enhancing their abilities to make decisions that minimize time to locate assets and track inventory.
Some of the connected devices listed below are already in use to optimize inventory and asset operations
Given the indomitable value of robotics as a physical branch of AI, connected worker systems are in all but name – the actual fusion of sapiens and technology, hand-in-hand (quite literally).
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