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Future-proofing your workforce: Preparing for the warehouses of tomorrow

3/28/2022

Future-proofing your workforce: Preparing for the warehouses of tomorrow

Supply chain automation is an industry that has seen significant expansion over the last decade, and one that the Society for Human Resource Management says is changing the landscape of warehouses across the globe. As workforces have undergone drastic shifts in the last few years, so too has the usefulness and accessibility of incorporating robotics into a warehouse setting. While these innovations range anywhere from digital warehouse management systems to the physical machinery employees are using, what is vital is that your workforce is suitably trained and experienced in using this new equipment.

These three factors ought to be considered when exploring the introduction of new technologies to your warehouse and your staff.

Compatibility

Not all automation and warehouses are created equal. Depending on the specifics of your facilities and operation, you'll find that some tech is going to be of benefit, whereas others would be a redundant expense. To ensure the changes you're making will be embraced by your teams, involve them in the decision-making process. Get feedback on what challenges they identify on the warehouse floor and ask for their opinion on whether proposed automations will actually work in helping streamline their workflow. Staff who are on board with the changes before they happen are far more likely to smoothly adapt to the new processes you're introducing.

Where you may have staff who are less tech-savvy than others consider exploring the possibility of enhanced training to bring them up to speed on using the new technology. It might be an additional expense initially, but it will pay dividends when you retain fully engaged and proficient employees.

Efficiency

Inevitably, the initial introduction of new systems will see a downturn in efficiency while everyone is getting to grips with how it all works. Don't be disheartened by this. Instead, focus on how productivity progressively returns to its previous level and then celebrate suitably when you exceed it. If you notice areas where things aren't bouncing back as well as expected, investigate whether a refresher course or further training could help see to the problem.

Be prepared to need to make adjustments to new processes as you go. With all the will in the world, you can't always expect to get it absolutely right the first time. Sometimes revisions will need to be made where unforeseen hurdles lay. In addressing these early, you can continually strengthen your team's knowledge base to take full advantage of the capabilities of the automation you've introduced.

Safety

Always a serious subject within the warehouse environment, the safety of your employees is paramount, especially if you incorporate new physical machinery into the workplace, per Robotics 247. Ensure training not only highlights the risks of any new automation, but focuses on giving your workers the skills needed to be able to adeptly use the equipment and systems with confidence. Encourage a culture of supportive learning, with colleagues helping each other. You could even consider offering additional training responsibilities to any outstanding member of the team. Keep manuals and other useful resource documentation readily available and make sure your employees are aware of where to find it, and know who to go to with any questions.