Using Robotics to Aid — NOT Replace — Workers

We are aware that robots are projected to replace many jobs in the future. But robots can also assist — not replace — workers. Here’s an example from the Wall Street Journal involving warehouse functions.

As reported by Jennifer Smith:

“Known as ‘collaborative’ robots, they are small and relatively cheap—costing tens of thousands of dollars—compared with miles of conveyor belts and automation systems that run into the tens of millions. The new robots are designed with the majority of warehouses worldwide in mind, where orders continue to be fulfilled manually by people pushing carts up and down aisles. Robotics firms pitch them as a way to help people work faster and boost productivity during busy times, such as the holidays, when extra labor is harder to find. Surging online sales and a tight labor market have made it more difficult and expensive to fill warehouse jobs.”

“’It’s not meant to replace human labor, but you can get greater throughput with the same size workforce, said John Santagate, an analyst with IDC Manufacturing Insights, part of research firm IDC. For instance, robots can slash the number of steps workers take to fulfill an order. But they don’t grab objects off shelves, a task that is simple for humans but tricky to automate, though developers are getting close.”



This entry was posted in Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Technology in Retailing, Video Clips (non-career) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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