How Humans and Robots Will Work Side-by-Side in the Supply Chain

How Humans and Robots Will Work Side-by-Side in the Supply Chain

Humans and robots can work in harmony to create a safer, more efficient working world, here’s what that world might look like.

Robots and Humans Working Together

In Robots in the Supply Chain: The Perfect Employee? Merril Douglas paints a picture of a time in the near future when robots and humans will work side-by-side to help companies gain speed, increase accuracy, cut costs, and handle the grunt work.

“We’re sitting in the middle of a perfect storm for robots in the supply chain. E-commerce sales continue to climb, forcing retailers to pick up the pace in their fulfillment and distribution centers,” Douglas writes.

“But these days, it’s hard to find workers to keep product moving in any kind of warehouse e-commerce or otherwise.”

We’re already seeing examples of robots being designed to take over the supply chain’s least attractive tasks. “In some cases, robotic systems do this work entirely on their own, freeing humans for more complex functions,” Douglas points out.

“In other instances, bots collaborate with humans. Whatever the scenario, proponents say that these automated solutions provide a big productivity boost.”

Some companies are deploying robots to perform repetitive, simple job tasks and allowing human laborers to focus on tasks that require deeper thinking and strategizing.

The new term for this collaboration, “cobot,” allows each type of worker to focus on the tasks they do best.

For example, bots can be used to deliver products from place-to-place in the warehouse, DC, or yard; autonomous drones can perform mundane and repetitive inventory management tasks (as well as tasks that are dangerous for humans, such as flying up to view inventory on high shelves); and robots can lift shelving units from densely-packed storage areas and then transport those goods to a picking station.

Today’s customers expect same-day and next-day delivery guarantees. When they don’t get what they want, they can find another source with just a couple of screen taps or mouse clicks. For this reason, good inventory management – accompanied by the ability to drive goods through the supply chain at a high velocity – has become a must-have in today’s business world.

Autonomous drones can perform mundane and repetitive inventory management tasks, as well as tasks that are dangerous for humans, such as flying up to view inventory on high shelves. “Drone tech is growing so advanced that some are artificially intelligent, requiring very little oversight,” Kate Patrick writes in “ Drones can improve inventory accuracy, fill turnover gap.”

“Because warehouses are such an integral part of the supply chain in a growing e-commerce-centered commercial world, and because the warehouse worker turnover rate is so high…now is the perfect time for companies to start using drones.” Read more here

Original Source: How Humans and Robots Will Work Side-by-Side in the Supply Chain – Supply Chain 24/7

December 5, 2018 · By Matt Yearling

Website:  http://www.supplychain247.com

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