By Caroline White | July 20, 2021
Since COVID-19 emerged back in 2020, many businesses have slowly begun to open back up after almost a year later. While demand in some sectors is soaring, supply has been a major challenge. During this time, businesses have seen shortages in lumbar, steel, oil, and other commodities. One of the most impactful shortages for many supply chain businesses in the United States though, is labor.
While Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) was designed to aid those, who fell into unemployment during the pandemic. This compensation has instead created many challenges for businesses to recover from the pandemic, due to lack of ability to keep labor.
Although unemployment in the US is 13.8% lower than the height of the pandemic, we are still higher than we were since September 2014, sitting at 5.9% unemployment. While unemployment has been unavoidable in more recent months, other US markets should have seen positions being filled with the reopening of businesses while also ramping up an online presence. When looking at the data though, unemployment rose 0.1% from May 2021 to June 2021. Civilian Unemployment Rate Graphic
For many traditional distribution centers and warehouses, automation may be planned for future use, or in some cases, has not even been a topic of discussion. We will begin to see traditional businesses start to ramp back up with the emergence of automation and robotics. As we have seen over the past year, many companies are ramping up their online presence, to stay competitive with other companies in their market. While this is one major factor to getting business ramped back up, being able to fulfill customer orders is just as important as being able to make the sale. We are beginning to and will continue to see companies looking to automation to help reduce human error, improve efficiency, and complete orders on time. These advances will also give the facilities more room for growth once staffing becomes less of a challenge.
Some people think that automation will take over human jobs, but the reality is that it will create new jobs and evolve the labor pool being considered. With more engineering and technological research and deployment demand, will result in more mechanical and IT positions. But some tasks a robot cannot do as well as a human. Labor will always be needed, but the labor requirements may adjust and broaden over time, depending on the level of automation.
While there are many options for automation out there, it is important to choose one that will provide the most positive impact for you and your customer. For questions around what automation or warehouse robotic solution will fit your facility best, reach out to email@example.com to get your questions answered and start your journey in realizing your supply chain potential today!
Contributor: Chad Markowitz, Senior Supply Chain Consultant at Bricz