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Warehouse Workers Say Robots are Friends, Not Foes

Warehouse Workers Say Robots are Friends, Not Foes

Feb. 13, 2023
Three of 4 warehouse workers, in a new survey, say they trust robots as a partner to help them do their jobs better.

Trusting a robot is hard to do.

But that's exactly the case, according to Competing for The Warehouse Workforce of the Future,  a study of 500 on-floor warehouse workers across the U.S. commissioned by Lucas Systems.

Three of 4 warehouse workers in the survey said that they trust robots as a partner to help them do their jobs better. Workers value robots as colleagues, mainly because of their ability to help reduce physical stress, and achieve better performance in picking and accuracy.

And that led to three out of 4 workers saying that robots are friends, not foes. 

One reason for this attitude is that a majority of Gen Z workers (73%) say robots will help them achieve greater accuracy and speed in their jobs.

"These are all signs that tomorrow's warehouses will need to operate differently than they do today," says Lucas Systems CMO Ken Ramoutar., in a statement "Gen Z workers expect to use modern technologies like they use at home. Handheld and personalized, tech must be easy to use and must help them save time and mitigate exertion."

Having tech as part of the job is important to Gen Z who even ranked that about pay. The survey found that  74% of workers are willing to trade pay for better tech to do their jobs.

 Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) warehouse workers are at least somewhat likely to take a pay cut to work at another company with more technology tools to help them do their job, including more than half (52%) who are extremely or very likely.

This is driven by younger workers, with 81% of workers in the Gen Z group being at least somewhat likely to trade pay for tech. This is certainly a signal to DC operators and leaders that workers are after quality measures in addition to quantity measures, like pay, when it comes to their jobs.

The most valuable tech benefits were as follows:

  • Increase performance
  • Decrease physical demands
  • Enhance Accuracy
  • Increase personal safety

This emphasis on tech is not going unnoticed by leadership as 90% believe tech is a critical driver in employee attraction and retention

Other takeaways from the survey include the fact that workers want to stay at their jobs but feel improvements are a necessity to make their jobs easier and less stressful.  The survey found that on-floor workers do not want to bounce around. An accompanying survey, The Voice of the Warehouse Worker, found that warehouse workers anticipate staying at their current place of employment for at least three years (74%), with 35% anticipating a tenure longer than five years.

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