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Are There More Robots Here Than People, Warehouse Workers Ask

Are There More Robots Here Than People, Warehouse Workers Ask

Nov. 29, 2023
At a UPS warehouse in Kentucky, there will be 3,000 robots and 200 humans.

The answer to that question is yes, if one is standing inside the largest warehouse UPS owns in Louisville, Kentucky.

Last week the company announced that the facility will employ3,000 robots along with 200 humans.

Is this a good thing? Well according to UPS, when talking about how its new system, called UPS Velocity, operates it uses these words in an article – “ A robotic ballet paired with human care and attention to detail.”

This dance might be beneficial to workers if in fact the workers can walk less during the course of their day. A recent survey, Voice of the Warehouse Workers, found warehouse workers said that they would be open to technology that would reduce their walking given that they spend more than one-third of their day walking.  The survey also found t hat 74% would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company that utilized technology that would help them perform their job.

Think tanks such as ITIF (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) are advocated for robots to help solve the productivity crunch in logistics facilities.

They note that “automation can improve worker safety, create high-value jobs, lower error rates, increase shipping speeds, improve supply chain resiliency, lower prices and boost producity.” That’s a lot of pressure on a robot, if you ask me.

Pressure is another issue that comes with the increased presence of robots. “Warehouses powered by robotics and artificial intelligence software are leading to human burnout by adding more work and raising the pressure on workers to speed up their performance,” said Beth Gutelius from the University of Illinois at Chicago in an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. 

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