- Thirty metropolitan areas hold at least a third of the national share of warehouse jobs in the country, and these areas are more likely to have robots take over jobs than other zones, according to Emsi Developer, a labor market and data analysis company.
- A recent report by McKinsey claims 78% of occupations with predictable physical activities are susceptible to automation. Emsi adds more than 40% of warehouse workers are either hand laborers, freight movers, stock clerks, or hand packers, and fit into this category.
- Due to sheer numbers, then, regions with high concentrations of warehouses are most likely to lose jobs due to automation. In the U.S., the metropolitan areas in Southwest CA, the Lehigh Valley in PA, Memphis, TN, and Louisville, KY fit this bill.
With a dwindling market for long-term warehouse workers, many vendors involved with packaging and groceries in supply chains are resorting to robots for repetitive task work.
While previously, workers often made a career out of warehouse employment, the current market offers little in the way of incentives or security, with average pay leveling out at about $12 per hour. Workers are now in short supply, and robots may begin to fill their shoes.
Some warehouses are in fact being redesigned to accommodate more robots than humans, with narrower aisles allowing for a greater availability of shelving and storage space.
Pros and cons exist for both sides of the equation, with some insisting that a human to robot ratio must be maintained to avoid a potentially endless loop of machine-based error, versus those who believe that entire warehouses can exist with only robot assistance.