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3 Ways Digital Tools Improve Warehouse Labor Productivity

Digital Tools

The labor shortage is impacting every level of business, from the warehouse floor operator on up to the C-suite. The result is that organizations are embracing all types of technology to help improve warehouse labor productivity. From advanced software to robotics and everything in between, this progression has big advantages.

If you walk into a distribution center (DC) today, you’d find a warehouse that looks a lot more Gen Z than baby boomer — and new tools are to thank for the transformation. Let’s look at three specific ways digital tools help improve warehouse labor productivity during staffing shortages.

3 Ways Digital Tools Improve Warehouse Labor Productivity

  1. Onboard New Employees Faster

In the past, organizations trained new employees on the floor, but now digital transformation is filling that gap and freeing up human resources for other tasks. For example, new employees receive a tablet or use another mobile device to learn their new job procedures step by step. The tablet provides videos and instructions, walking the new staff members through their tasks. This is a particularly appealing way to educate the younger generations of employees, who are all more accustomed to learning in this manner.

One of the best aspects in this approach of using digital tools to improve warehouse labor productivity is that new employees can hit the ground running with no downtime dedicated to training. They can carry the tablet or device with them for the first couple of weeks on the job, until they’ve got the steps down and no longer need it. Additionally, many companies set up monitors at workstations that lead employees through their processes. New employees are surrounded by the information they need at any given moment in the learning process.

  1. Reduce Physical Labor Requirements

Another aspect of digital transformation is the addition of robotics. Instead of replacing humans on the DC floor, robots help make physical work easier and improve warehouse labor productivity. Robots can help ease the pain of labor shortages because these digital tools can take over for humans in the tasks they would rather skip.

Distribution centers require a good deal of lifting, bending and moving heavy boxes and packages. These are very physical, repetitive tasks that can lead to injuries and, consequently, take valuable human resources out of the equation. With robots, employees can focus on less physically demanding tasks. Not only are robots more interesting and appealing to floor workers, but it helps keep them healthy and on the job. This, in turn, can lead to better retention rates and increase your warehouse labor productivity.

  1. Improve Communication

The final way digital tools help improve warehouse labor productivity during staffing shortages is with communication. Specifically, there are emerging augmented reality tools that really appeal to the new generation of warehouse workers. Not only do these digital tools provide real-time instructions and training to employees, but it also helps with troubleshooting on the floor when issues arise. It’s a good way to communicate with employees that won’t require live, in-person instruction. The result is that company morale remains higher and turnover declines.

Final Thoughts

With the growing usage of these digital tools, companies can expect to see a quick return on investment ROI. The future is poised to see continued development of software and hardware that can improve warehouse labor productivity and enable supervisors and managers to focus to other operational tasks.


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