logisticstechoutlook

Three Ways Technology is Transforming Warehouses

By Logistics Tech Outlook | Thursday, November 07, 2019

The highest preference for organizations in the short term is to recognize and implement technologies that support more competent order fulfillment. The approach involves applying labor-saving technologies to high-volume e-commerce order picking and recurrent, small-batch replenishments to retail stores that keep a restricted record on hand.

FREMONT, CA: New technologies in warehouses are manifesting up for many reasons. A new study found that tight labor markets, increasing speed requirements, and rising real estate costs are driving warehouse operators to examine new technologies.

As a solution, employers can use technology to reduce the skill requirements of jobs to reduce training times and turnover costs leading to wage stagnation and job insecurity. Below are some ways how technology is impacting tasks, jobs, and workers in the warehouses.

1. New technologies are expected to lead to work intensification

The highest preference for organizations in the short term is to recognize and implement technologies that support more competent order fulfillment. The approach involves applying labor-saving technologies to high-volume e-commerce order picking and recurrent, small-batch replenishments to retail stores that keep a restricted record on hand. The labor-intensive quality of picking individual items to assemble orders called each picking requires large numbers of workers. So, warehouse operators place great value in finding ways to decrease headcount and increase throughput by reorganizing the activity.

2. New technologies have the Capability to de-skill some job functions

A few warehouse technologies are designed to make more straightforward aspects of warehouse work by splitting a job into subtasks and removing the skills required of the workforce, wherever possible. Across all occupations in warehouses, efficient technologies are likely to replace some human-performed decision-making jobs with machines, considerably changing the composition and quality of employment. In a few cases, the de-skilling appears to be aggravated by a desire to shift labor strategy, with expanding the size of the potential labor market, increasing the use of temporary workers, plummeting the workforce in particular occupations, and enhancing worker productivity.

3. New technologies are poised to alter how workers are administered

Algorithmic management brings new forms of workplace control, where the technical regulation of workers’ performance is scalable, granular, and relentless. Newly available devices like autonomous mobile robots, wearable warehouse technologies, and increasingly sophisticated labor management software facilitate close tracking of workers’ movements, including walk speed, bottlenecks, routes, and break time.

The technologies have the potential to improve efficiency by urging workers to increase speed and precision. These same tools also can function as a form of surveillance over personnel, reducing the little autonomy they already have, and further enhancing the pace of their work. Without interferences to ensure the transparency and evenhandedness of the algorithms used in the technologies, the conditions of employment in warehouses may be heading toward more rigid forms of management and monitoring.

Weekly Brief