The shopping season is upon us, and with it is the holiday hiring frenzy! With retailers and logistics operators facing a tight labor market, cobots are coming into the picture now.
These machines are helping seasonal workers cope with the expected flood of online orders.
As The Wall Street Journal details, robots are joining this rush to season jobs, as warehouses are ramping up automation at their locations. Order volumes can surge tenfold as consumers load up their virtual shopping carts in the weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To cope with this increased demand, businesses are looking at collaborative robots.
Or cobots, as they are known.
They are ordering up extra fleets of these machines that use cameras, lasers and sensors to navigate warehouse aisles. These robots can then lead workers to the right shelves or even shuttle bins full of products between workstations.
And many of these cobots are available for lease, which allows these companies to rent them as a service for a period of time, instead of buying these machines outright.
According to automation companies, most of the seasonal demand for robots comes from customers that already use their units. And this key, as it makes setup for new operations a matter of minutes or hours rather than weeks.
Which is very important, as no company wants to change their operations the day before peak.
Not to mention, the aging workforce is also contributing to the interest in warehouse robots, as many seasonal workers are over 55. Workers with back and knee pain are not very keen on walking, which makes this collaborative model much more appealing for companies that can’t find the right people.
Still, not everyone sees these robots as a universal panacea for peak season pressure.
Read up, to find out who holds this view.