AS/RS drive human innovation in the supply chain
According to Refrigerated and Frozen Foods, in the next four years to 2020, the supply chain and logistics industry is expected to create nearly 1.4 million new jobs. However, many manufacturers and supply chain professionals are struggling to appeal to the younger generation entering the workforce. Manual processes are a thing of the past and automation oftentimes appears as a threat to job security.
“These once manual tasks are now being replaced with automation,” says Westfalia’s Staci Cretu, marketing and communications manager. “For manufacturers and distributors, this means automating material handling processes to improve their current processes and systems.” While it is true that some jobs may be eliminated due to the nature of automation, the human role is changing and now requires a series of new skills thanks to complex automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).
Automation not only allows for better standardization, flexibility, inventory accuracy and product protection, it can also handle loads in harsh environments that are not suitable for humans, such as coolers or freezers. With the exception of the occasional maintenance, no humans are required to enter the system and put themselves at risk. Instead, many of today’s supply chain jobs involve operating, maintaining and programming the machinery that has taken place of the manual labor.