How automation changes the warehouse workforce
23 November 2017
Bis Henderson Recruitment has released a white paper exploring human resources issues amid the growing use of automated solutions for efulfilment. HSS editor Simon Duddy pulls out a few key thoughts.
The white paper is a good read and I’d recommend you download it - it’s free - if you are grappling with these issues.
I’ve pulled out a few quotes below to give you a flavour.
Andy Kaye, CEO of Bis Henderson Group
“Using automation to support order picking creates a production environment wherein the warehouse worker is no longer actively moving about the facility to perform duties, but is expected to stand in one spot and pick from totes delivered to a pick station. This change in the way the job is performed brings the modern warehouse worker’s role more closely in line with that of a factory worker.”
John Munnelly, Head of Operations at John Lewis’ highly automated national distribution centre in Magna Park, Milton Keynes
“We have a strategy ‘Better jobs and better performing partners on better pay’ and we are bringing that to life in our automated world. Automation demands a different mind-set from people on the shop floor. We have quite successfully moved a number of people from the shop floor to quite important technical roles, helping capable people to find niche positions. In a manual environment you tend not to need that level of expertise, but in an automated operation there is a real requirement for people with more analytical skills and a bias to understanding systems – how material flows through a system.”
Connect Books Supply Chain Director Ian Sheppard
“While we have recognised that people are performing well in certain roles, we have implemented a rotation system so that people are not performing the same function for more than an hour at a time. By introducing a variety of tasks over a shift we are working to reduce isolation and improve interaction amongst colleagues – and based on feedback from our operators, it’s been received very positively. Importantly, they say that they are comfortable within the roles they are performing.”