The fourth industrial revolution is upending logistics. Here’s how to upskill employees for the autonomous warehouse.

A sophisticated piece of warehouse machinery sits idle on the shop floor
A sophisticated piece of warehouse machinery sits idle on the shop floor.

The fourth industrial revolution is upending logistics. Here’s how to upskill employees for the autonomous warehouse.

Invest in Practical Skills

While the modern warehouse will continue to become virtually unrecognizable over the next decade, streamlined operations will always require a superior understanding of management techniques. Finding and developing your top human talent will be essential to the smooth functioning of the automated warehouse.

Identify your top people with proven management skills and invest in project management training for them. These courses will provide them with the people and operations management skills necessary to oversee both the technology and the human capital required to run a modern warehouse.

Upgrade Your Safety Training

The more automation, the more machinery, which means the greater potential for injury. Anytime you introduce a new piece of technology or machinery into a warehouse environment, all of your current workforce needs to know how to safely and effectively use it.

The International Society of Automation (ISA) is one of the primary developers of industry-recognized standards for safe industrial and warehouse operations. This international organization offers safety training courses for everyone from entry-level employees to upper management. Keeping workers safe in environments dominated by machinery and automated processes will be a fundamental part of good business ethics and liability protection in the automated warehouse.

Invest in Warehouse Systems Managers

Alongside PMP designations, Warehouse Systems Management (WSM) certified employees will form the foundation of successful employee upskilling and autonomous warehouse operations. These employees are trained in the use and management of the sophisticated digital systems that run your warehouse and communicate with the rest of your logistics.

Without the proper manpower to maintain, run, and troubleshoot the complex systems that make up current and future warehouse automation, workflow grinds to a halt and the cost savings offered by automation are not realized.

Look for Solutions Design People

Solutions Design Specialists are responsible for interfacing between warehouse processes and clients. These employees will be responsible for ensuring the design, governance and execution of accounts receivables, dispute management, collection strategies, and credit management systems.

These employees will need experience in end to end business management, with an ability to integrate warehouse processes with procurement, finance, dispute management and service divisions. Current warehouse managers with a proven ability to work cross-divisionally and who understands the holistic needs of the business will be good fits for such upskilling initiatives.

Offer Mechanical Training Expertise

The steady march of warehouse automation will also require employee upskilling focused on equipment servicing and maintenance. Hiring for these positions will likely become a necessity as equipment grows more sophisticated, but there are upskilling opportunities right there on the warehouse floor.

Employees who are already partially or fully employed in mechanical and service-related roles can be offered chances to level up their skills and learn how to put their mechanical-mindedness to use on new equipment. New machinery and warehouse equipment almost always come with either in or out-of-house training that can be taken advantage of.

Specialized Compliance Analysts

Specialized compliance analysts and experts will make up another integral part of the autonomous warehouse expertise requirements. While less manpower will be the end result of these current and coming transformations, those employees who are left on the warehouse floor will face new potential threats from omnipresent machinery and automated processes.

Compliance officers and analysts with technological and labour law expertise will be required in order to thoroughly monitor and ensure organization-specific and legal requirements are met on warehouse room floors. This will be necessary to protect both workers and organizations from injury, legal exposure, lost productivity and lost revenue.

Cyber Security Experts

Because of the digitization process, autonomous warehouses, with numerous connections to the internet and integrated into enterprise-wide systems with access to large sources of sensitive and proprietary data, will need to be secured. In fact, supply chains already face increasing threats of cyberattacks.

This will create an increased demand for not only an understanding of cybersecurity threats among all warehouse employees, but specialized cybersecurity experts to ensure that IoT-integrated machinery and operations do not represent potential vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities could be exploited by foreign and/or domestic malicious actors and hackers seeking to disrupt or destroy operations. This is especially true for operations which are in or have connections to sensitive industries of national interest and/or security importance.

Conclusion

Those in the midst of the current changes revolutionizing logistics and warehousing are likely fully aware of their up and coming labour needs and are hopefully in the process of making the necessary changes to their workforce. Keep in mind the above upskilling considerations the autonomous warehouse and successfully adapt your current human capital to the automated age.