Warehouse work trends that are here to stay
As with every industry, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way warehouses and logistics centers operate. Add to this the Great Resignation and continual supply chain disruptions, and it's easy to see why warehouse managers are seeking new strategies to streamline and optimize processes.
Logistics leaders have had to completely shift tactics, accelerating the adoption of new technologies and rethinking the way they recruit, retain and manage employees. While some changes may only be temporary, here are a few trends that are unlikely to leave anytime soon.
Implementing automation and other technologies
Recent labor shortages have left many managers looking toward technological solutions. This can include anything from smarter warehouse management systems to robotic assistants and autonomous vehicles. Some warehouses are even implementing software powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize all aspects of their operations.
Emerging technologies like AI and robotic workers are not broadly implemented at the moment, but their adoption is increasing and "has the potential to grow at a rapid pace," Forbes reports. While some current employees may be frightened by the prospect of becoming obsolete due to automation, they don't have to worry. Even advanced robotics and automated systems still require human employees to ensure accuracy, fix errors and maintain the equipment.
The next generation of warehouse workers
As Gen X and Baby Boomer employees enter the age of retirement, warehouses need to start shifting focus toward recruiting and retaining the next generation of workers. Millennials have been in the workforce for at least the last decade, but many Gen Zers are just now seeking employment. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of a new candidate pool and appeal to the future face of warehouse workers.
However, these younger generations are not the same as their predecessors. They want more flexibility in the workplace and professional development opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience, according to CNBC. While this might seem demanding to some managers, employees with a healthy work-life balance and professional career training can generate a lot of value. Additionally, these younger workers are the first digitally native generation, meaning they have an easy time learning new software and technology tools.
Recruiting and retaining employees
Looking at the future of the warehouse workforce from a broader perspective, recruiting and retention strategies are also changing. Managers have begun shifting their attention toward recruiting the next generations of employees, but they've also had to rethink how they retain their current workers. Whether they're aging or considering resignation, there are a variety of challenges to overcome to keep an employee with your company.
One solution for older employees who may not be able to complete the same physically demanding tasks is to retrain or upskill them. This means teaching them how to fulfill a new role within the warehouse, such as an equipment technician. For those on the brink of leaving, try offering a better benefits package or career development program.
Employee incentives like wage increases and professional training can go a long way in attracting new talent and encouraging your current workforce to stay with your company.