The futuristic notion of robots in the workplace is no longer in the future. In fact, with more companies investing in automation, robots are becoming commonplace in factories and warehouse-centric industries every day. Having robots present in a workplace can bring a ream of benefits to business operations and the employees involved in the day-to-day processes.
However, with any change comes some resistance and worry. After all, if robots are automating processes, will they take the place of valued employees? There’s no doubt that robots will replace tasks that humans have historically been in charge of in a warehouse. Yet, by removing the arduous, menial tasks and delegating them to robots, human employees may see many positive impacts through this automation.
1. Enhanced safety measures
Safety is a hot topic in a warehouse. When you have mountains of inventory piled high, blades cutting cardboard boxes and heavy machinery, injuries are bound to happen. Tedious tasks that often take a long time can lead to fatigued employees. Workplace tiredness from monotonous tasks can also jeopardise safety and can be subject to human error.
Automation through robots can minimise health and safety problems. They can take over tedious and dangerous duties when it comes to managing inventory stock and leave the employees to do more high-level activities. Human error is reduced and safety is improved throughout the warehouse.
2. Harness employee’s critical thinking
A human workforce has notable attributes that robots simply don’t have. The human brain isn’t stimulated doing mundane, often boring tasks such as doing a stocktake.
Rather, people are motivated when they have a sense of purpose, freedom and stimulation through problem-solving. It’s advantageous to the employer (and employee) to have their staff doing something that requires skills and brainpower. Taping up boxes for shipments is important, but it doesn’t really require that much thought.
If people feel needed and have a sense of purpose, their motivation is likely to increase. Let robots do menial tasks and pass on the critical thinking jobs to your employees. Upskill them and allow them to grow into more fulfilling and challenging roles, while the robots manage the busy work on the ground.
3. Management of robots
When robots enter a workplace, they aren’t going to manage themselves. Robots can actually encourage your employees to upskill into roles that involve responsibility and management. Robot’s technical systems require people who know how they work and how to manage their emergence into new automated processes. Employees can also use critical thinking to see if there are any other applicable pathways for their usefulness in the warehouse.
You might find once you’ve put automation in place, employees will grow to become more engaged in the success of the business because they’ll have taken on bigger roles; their motivation and understanding will evolve. Employee workplace satisfaction has been seen to rise in these scenarios, even when there was initial resistance to robots. Looking at the business through a new lens will allow employees to increase their productivity up and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.