Logistics operators find robots help recruit tech-savvy workers

Logistics operators find robots help recruit tech-savvy workers

The impact of robots on logistics operations becomes increasingly complex as companies weigh how automation affects the recruitment of management leaders and employees on the warehouse floor.

Some companies say investing in automation is helping them bring in a new generation of tech-savvy workers interested in working on the latest advances in artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies aimed at increasing efficiency in supply chains. Progress towards accreditation Robots that can lift, move and pack a growing range of products It is also changing the nature of blue-collar jobs in warehouses, expanding the pool of potential recruits in a tight job market.

The shifts come as many companies are looking for automation Reducing the number of employees in their logistics operationsto reduce costs and to make the flow of goods through distribution networks more efficient and predictable.

Manufacturers and retailers like snacks giant

Mondelez International a company

and chain stores

Nordstrom a company

He says the investments are also changing the workforce in the supply chain.

“The new generation is coming in. They’re looking for ‘what’s exciting and new about this that I can bring to the value?'” said Sandra McQuillan, Mondelez’s Executive Vice President and Director of Supply Chain. “

The Chicago-based distributor of Oreo cookies, Toblerone chocolate and BelVita cookies is seeing more logistics professionals interested in working on the company’s investments in building touchless distribution centers and factories and in online monitoring systems that eliminate the need for workers to adjust things everywhere. production, she said.

Ms MacQuillan said that some warehouse floor jobs will be eliminated as Mondelez updates its processes while others will be abolished. Shifting from physically demanding work Moving goods through distribution centers towards positions managing technology.

“People hear, ‘No contact,’ does that mean I didn’t get a job?” she said. This does not necessarily mean that. What this could mean is, it’s a completely different job we’re asking you to do. But it should be more useful because we’re using your brain instead of asking you to do manual chores all the time.”

An employee at the Amazon logistics center in Sülzetal, Germany.


Ronnie Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

Dave Clark, CEO of digital freight company Flexport Inc. And the former president of the company

Amazon.com a company

It was a consumer business at Amazon when the e-commerce giant acquired robotics company Kiva Systems Inc. in 2012. The acquisition triggered the company’s launch of greater automation in its growing logistics network and expanded the pipeline of engineers and other technical workers in the business.

“When you have a very large investment in robotics or automation or a significant fundamental shift in technology, people view it as a commitment,” said Mr. Clark. “They see it as a commitment to excellence and a commitment to next-generation thinking…it attracts diverse talent from a technical point of view and at all levels of leadership.”

Logistics operators and educators say technology investments resonate with recent graduates of the supply chain program.

said Dale Rogers, professor of supply chain management at Arizona State University at WP Carey School of Business.

Lee Bird, senior vice president of transportation for Seattle-based Nordstrom, said the retailer was highlighting its technology investments for new employees.

Mr Bird said people “want to work on really compelling things where they see the impact of the business, and where they also feel, hey, that company or that industry sees the supply chain as a competitive differentiator.” “The investments we make across the supply chain, in our technology, etc., give us proof points when we have these kinds of conversations with candidates.”

write to Liz Young at liz.young@wsj.com

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