Automating the movement of materials within manufacturing operations is nothing new. Thanks to advancements in sensor technology, 3D camera systems, software and artificial intelligence, these machines are increasingly capable of seeing their environments and, more importantly, learning to identify what they’re seeing. More and more, factories are becoming home to “free-range” robots capable of working beside humans wherever they’re needed.
Increasingly, semi-autonomous and even autonomous vehicles within manufacturing operations are gaining independence. Materials-handling robots, in particular, are making aggressive moves, most notably in warehouses and inventory management. Since 2014, Amazon has hired 50,000 new human workers at its warehouse facilities–while also adding 30,000 robots to work with them.
Forming a talent strategy around mobility now might be a wise pre-emptive move to best exploit mobility adoption as it unfolds over the coming years. With this in mind, some workforce skills that new adopters need to focus on include: safety skills, new work flow management, software programming, as well as specialized training from vehicle vendors. Indeed, getting a workforce more well-prepared to work among more independent vehicles will take time.