A Look at Warehouse Automation in 5 Years

A Look at Warehouse Automation in 5 Years

By: David Marler

The Gig Warehouse

As we have seen over the past 10 years with Uber, Door Dash, Task Rabbit, etc. the worldwide labor pool is changing.  Combine this with the pay everyday concept and it’s easy to see that individuals have discovered the ability to work when and for how long they want.  It’s only a matter of time before this concept moves into the industrial side of commerce and the industry needs to be ready.

I doubt you’ll see this trend in highly skilled manufacturing jobs but for any company that is looking for pick and pack help they better get ready.  Paying someone $15 – $17 an hour to walk through a warehouse and pick orders is not as attractive as making $17 – $20 driving people around in your car or delivering their favorite lunch.

The gig economy is coming to your warehouse.  Are you ready?

There is a segment of the industry that will be able to afford the high-tech automation that robotics will bring.  When you are doing billions in revenue each year you have the budget to invest millions to be more efficient.  But what about the company that is not doing billions?  How do they automate?

There are many affordable warehouse automation products for business of any size.  Pick to light, mobile pick and voice pick are just a few.  Having the ability to bring in a contract employee, give them a tool that eliminates the need to know where everything is in the warehouse, let them choose the number of days they want to work and then pay them at the end of the day is going to give you a huge advantage on the quality of employee/contractor that you can attract.

While old school principles can still apply – warehouse employee is an entry-level position, they work their butt off and get promoted over the years and one day winds up as President/CEO – the chances of you finding that individual who has that type of vision is going to evaporate.  The “I want it now” generation is the workforce of today.

According to Forbes, by 2025 75% of the global workforce will be Millennials and much of an organization’s culture will center around this generation’s habits and expectations.   Either you change your culture to appease the “Everybody gets a trophy” generation or you change the operational structure to still get the work done by appealing to their version of a work ethic.

I’m not saying that you have to change your operation to fit this coming narrative.  I’m simply pointing out this trend is coming and making the point that warehouse automation will make you a leaner, more profitable company no matter who is picking orders.