Imagine you have an unlimited budget and an amazing IT department… what new technologies would you implement for your warehouse and supply management systems? Which would you choose to improve first? Inventory handling? Personnel management? Transportation efficiency? How does your own warehouse utilize recent advances in technology? Pretending you have that unlimited budget, here are some ideas where you can begin:
Robots. No kidding. Robots are taking over, literally. From welding to heavy lifting and picking, robots can work longer hours without needing a health plan, do the heavy lifting without risk of injury, or even pick and consolidate product with much less room for mistakes. Amazon Prime is planning to use drones to deliver product as soon as the FAA publishes its regulations on the matter, and DHL even used a drone to deliver badly needed medication to a remote island. Daimler AG has already demonstrated its driver-less tractor trailer, “Future Truck” that navigates with sensor and camera technology. So, if you have a robot on the warehouse floor picking right next to your trusted employees, do you fear for their safety? Do they fear for their jobs? Scott Melton, regional manager of FANUC Robotics America, says that robots “enhance the workplace” by taking on more hazardous tasks that may be strenuous or physically risky for humans. He also suggests that if a skilled worker’s job can be replaced by a robot, it’s likely that worker will be essential in actually “training” the robots. Applications engineer for RMT Robotics, Ltd., Tom Pollard adds that these experienced workers can also be involved in designing and creating of logistical solutions for these new “Robot Employees.” By choosing to implement robotic workers, you could drastically reduce work related injuries and reallocate experienced human workers to planning and developing positions, rather than letting them go. Be sure to catch next week’s blog, part two of this series, as we continue exploring ideas for building the supply chain of your dreams.