How to Smoothly Transition From Manual to Automatic Labor
Many companies are working to reduce costs in any way possible in order to keep products affordable for consumers while maximizing the profitability of the business. One way that businesses have found to cut costs is to reduce labor expenses by limiting personnel and transitioning to automatic labor. These transitions can be painful for long-time workers and can put a strain on company-to-employee relations, but there is a way to make the transition more comfortable for everyone. Check out this guide on how to smoothly transition from manual to automatic labor.
Keep your employees informed
One of the scariest parts of being an employee at a distribution center during the transition to automatic labor is the uncertainty of where you stand with the company. As soon as the company begins to incorporate robots and machines, even on a small scale, people start to fear for their jobs and livelihoods. The key is to be open and honest with your employees to keep them calm and stop false rumors from circulating. Rumors are the enemy of a smooth transition and can create unnecessary unrest among workers. Let your employees know if machines will be introduced into their stations and how quickly the transition will take place. Ensure them that, if they are displaced due to a machine absorbing their position, they will be relocated or receive assistance in finding new opportunities within your company.
Make the transition slowly
Don’t do too much all at once. This can be too overwhelming for employees and managers to handle. Change is a great thing, but too much change at once can shock the system in ways it can’t handle. To smoothly transition from manual to automatic labor, start by introducing a few automated machines in a select few areas of the distribution center. For example, you can invest in stretch wrapping machines to help apply secondary packaging to products. Explain the benefits of stretch wrapping machines vs. hand wrapping, and train former hand wrapping employees to monitor machines. Let these employees and other departments witness how the automation helps the warehouse’s overall efficiency without displacing people’s jobs, and it will help them realize that it will change the warehouse for the better.
- Amethyst Jamiro