Although automation solutions are continuously evolving, most warehouses will continue to be operated manually in the future. This is mainly due to the human factor, which is flexible and cost-effective by nature. Equipped with a suitable assistance system, their productivity can be significantly increased.
Varying articles, changing customer requirements and a high need for scaling are requirements in logistics that make humans essential, and not just because of their adaptability: Their cognitive abilities and unique flexibility are the primary factors. Simultaneously, not all processes in the warehouse can be automated in a cost-effective manner. One example is reverse logistics: Employees with special training unpack returned goods, evaluate them and, if possible, put them back in stock. Machines are currently unable to perform this qualitative assessment in returns management. Many companies also still rely on human resources for picking, especially in e-commerce warehouses with a broad product portfolio, small lot sizes and seasonal peaks, as scalability and flexibility are crucial for economic success.
Assistance systems supports your staff
Thanks to smart assistance systems, workers can gain an even greater advantage over their technological rivals. They help increase productivity while minimizing the error rate. To ensure both, you should look for intuitive user guidance when selecting an assistance system. One example can be pick-by-vision: The worker wears smart glasses that reduce the visual and auditory input in his daily work. The user interface displays all process-relevant information in real time on the screens of the smart glasses. This allows for checking of storage locations, articles or article numbers at any time. The integrated scanning process reduces errors by verification of the picks. The picker always has both hands free for his core activity and receives an automatic confirmation once an order is processed correctly. Pick-by-vision simplifies the work process immensely and provides cognitive relieve for the employees: Based on the context, they only receive the information relevant at that moment, helping to reduce fatigue and minimizing mistakes. The highly adaptable system can be used in both person-to-goods picking and in goods-to-person applications, e.g. at a picking station in an AutoStore system. With the use of an intelligent assistance system like pick-by-vision, human resources get an upgrade to Industry 4.0 standard: They collect huge amounts of data during their operations that can help to optimize warehouse infrastructure and processes. This database can be used to optimize walkways or the arrangement of items in the warehouse, allowing for highly productive and ergonomic processes: long routes to fast-moving goods are eliminated and frequent bending and stretching movements can be prevented.
People and assistance systems: Essential for the warehouse
For the foreseeable future, human resources are irreplaceable in intralogistics. Companies should therefore leverage the potential of their employees in the warehouse by using assistance systems that improve both productivity and quality of processes. In our free white paper “Smart glasses in logistics”, we have compiled important information on possible applications and the advantages of smart glasses in intralogistics. You will also find practical tips and information on the deployment of an assistance system.