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The modern warehouse employee brings efficiency in the warehouse
The warehouse is changing from cost centre to 'growth centre'. Multi-channel, omni-channel, e-commerce, diversification; all these developments are changing the dull warehouse into a dynamic environment with sorters, robots, AGVs and warehouse cranes. Goods are constantly in motion. Smart software controls the operation and the logistics manager follows the flow of goods on his dashboard in real time, ready to act in time if KPIs are likely not to be achieved ....
In the midst of all this action, we can still see the warehouse employee. How did his (or her) role change? Will the warehouse employee become obsolete because of all these systems?
At Costo we believe that because of the increased complexity the role of the employees in the warehouse will remain important. So, what do we see happening today:
1. Growing the number of job vacancies
Netherlands Distribution, recruitment agencies, trade press; everyone reports an increase in the number of jobs in logistics. Make no mistake: the logistics sector accounts for some 8% of GDP in the Netherlands and provides employment to 700,000 people (source: Logistiek Magazine). All these people perform under increased pressure to keep the customer satisfied. The staff needs nowadays to be well trained and have the proper mindset to get the job done.
2. New competencies
The complex warehouse really need a bright mind: planners (with knowledge of Sales & Operations planning), warehouse managers, project leaders. Many of these are (technical) jobs aimed at keeping the overview of the logistics processes. Not only within the warehouse, but also the flow of goods between DCs, manufacturing sites and retail locations needs to stay under control. In addition, the aging of our population increases the demand for jobs like (truck) drivers. For both categories, one has to have an affinity with technical systems and / or IT systems. Even conventional forklift trucks are now equipped with scanners, voice systems or other devices. Some jobs may disappear or people need schooling to keep up with the changes.
The employee in the warehouse becomes a real all-rounder, who works well in teams and has no problem with technical tools and equipment. Certainly the so-called 'soft skills' should be well developed as well.
3. 100% automation is currently still a utopia
We already mentioned it in another blog: the fully automated warehouse is certainly not the best solution for every company. It is perfect for large e-commerce players with need of large-scale mechanization, but the majority of companies probably only need to take a few small steps in this area to remain successful over the next few years.
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