Making major labor changes can leave businesses struggling to keep up with a hectic production pace, especially during the holidays. How do the biggest brands with the most complex supply chains cope? is using technology, hiring spikes and more warehouse locations to try and accommodate, according to the Wall Street Journal. The renowned online marketplace company has built 26 new warehouses this year alone and has seen its number of quarterly full- and part-time employees reach 300,000: This is both a continuation of growth that stretches back to 2012 and a huge jump from its global numbers as of the second quarter this year.

As manual work gets outsourced to robots, it's giving rise to the misconception that automated systems threaten human jobs. Actually, the source said, the new systems require more human staff onhand since it only raises the overall number of orders to fill. That's an intriguing look at how improvements in both technology and labor can happen side by side.

alttextNew tech doesn't have to replace human workers, and can augment them instead.
The holiday rush may pass, but the impact of these innovations likely are here to stay. There are a few other examples of combining human and technological resources to tackle high workflow demands listed below:
  • Enhanced training: A key part of the Amazon story is the way it's used touchscreens and other resources to increase training time for the new labor recruits. This has reportedly allowed the business to slash weeks out of the typical employee training time, adding to efficiency and helping make up for the increased rates of recent turnover.
  • Inventory apps: As smart systems make their way into more warehouses, it's not hard to picture an app for every high volume occasion. said that relevant apps can easily run on a tablet, allowing users quick access and a simple way to handle large-scale inventory issues. Unlike some innovations that require training to understand, iPad-based solutions build off of familiarity and can add to the kind of touchscreen strategy Amazon is using to get workers oriented quickly.
  • Packing and shipping: Self-driving dollies and cranes may seem like they take all the need for human oversight out of the equation. However, this isn't necessarily the case, at least not for the foreseeable future. Robotic systems can be seen as helping existing crews instead of replacing them, as well as allowing them to make the most use out of available space in each storage center.
  • Smart glasses: Google Glass somewhat infamously proved to be less than the smash hit many imagined it would be, but that doesn't mean similar products won't find a place in the supply chain industry. In the best case scenario, these augmented lenses could be part of the future Internet of Things, connecting employees to their surroundings. Last year, a different article from the Journal reported that UPS was testing out Glass to reduce the labels needed to coordinate package delivery.
Incorporating managed IT services into the standard supply chain could lead businesses to a healthier vision of the future. As a central part of improving developments, logistics companies will almost certainly need a strong understanding of new tech to proceed.
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