Automation Isn’t Taking Jobs in the Supply Chain…It’s Changing Them for the Better

Automation Jobs Changing For Better In Supply Chain - Blue Robot Hand

The application of automation within the supply chain is radically transforming how everyday employees approach their positions. An automated function carries excellent advantages, but some fear it will lead to workers’ massive exodus. From robotic process automation (RPA) through traditional management aspects, automated capabilities transform supply chain employment into a tech-driven process. And supply chain leaders need to understand why and how it will change employees’ roles for the better.

Common Misconceptions of Automation in the Supply Chain

The fears over the use of automated capabilities within the workforce derived from the significant misconception that automated capabilities inevitably reduce the need for human workers. Yet, even with automated capabilities human interaction is still required to drive the greatest efficiencies. Automated capabilities are traditionally leveraged to improve processes that are redundant, unsafe, or require extensive time in handling operations.
For example, who wants to sort through 10,000 freight invoices and 10,000 bills of lading to figure out which ones match? But consider this, even an employee using a simple find function within an Excel sheet is already using automated capabilities, the power of automated search. Automated capabilities are simply designed to make workers more efficient.

Automated Capabilities Afford Great Opportunities to All Companies

Automation affords significant opportunities for all companies using it. According to Supply Chain Brain, “[automated process management] factors shorten the return on investment from automation. A few years ago, payback from the average automated system might have taken four to five years. Now, with the rise in labor cost, it’s closer to three years. Wage levels aside, the business case for automation is strong, noting that new systems improve accuracy, safety, and inventory management while reducing facility downtime. Of all recent technological advances, robotics is having the most direct impact on the human workforce.”
Yes, fears over the “Robot Apocalypse” remain. There may come a time when robotics replace all warehouse workers. That day is not today, though. The sooner that workforces realize that automated advancements will make their jobs more efficient and productive, they will be more likely to embrace these technologies with open arms.

Best Practices for Deploying Automated Processes in the Supply Chain and Reducing Employee Pushback

In the interim, building the business case for automated process management within the supply chain and improving laborers’ working conditions still has its share of challenges. As a result, supply chain leadership may follow these steps to improve deployment and help reduce employee pushback:
  1. Focus on how automated process management benefits employees.
  2. Speak to the elephant in the room: automation is not replacing workers.
  3. Implement systems that are intuitive and designed to hasten, not hinder workflows.
  4. Work with staff to ensure a smooth rollout.
  5. Avoid ambiguity in the use of new automated process management.
  6. Train staff on how to use new systems thoroughly and adequately.

Streamline Employee Workflows With Automated Process Management Today

Automation can be a scary topic for workers, especially in times of economic instability. However, automated capabilities are far from the nightmarish scenes of Hollywood movies, and it’s an excellent opportunity to keep businesses alive and employing people. Automated capabilities may replace some workers, but those workers can now focus on more proactive, engaging responsibilities. Additionally, automated processes can greatly improve workplace safety. It’s time to streamline operations and finally embrace automation.

Request a demo of how MercuryGate automates and aids workers in the supply chain today.

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