Warehouse worker shortages trigger robot use
Already increased demand for online shopping is forcing warehouse and logistics operators to scramble to fill positions ahead of the peak holiday season, withholding signing bonuses and higher wages while bringing in workers. robots to fill in the gaps.
Due to the labor shortage, smaller operators are trying to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart, which have bigger payrolls and richer benefits.
“When businesses envision peak season… the word I hear most often is ‘terrified,’ Dan Johnston, CEO and co-founder of WorkStep, told The Wall Street Journal.
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A globally tight labor market is hitting the logistics industry particularly hard, with exponential demand triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated by the return to work and school as well as the upcoming holiday shopping season.
“There is a huge demand for jobs and people, and we haven’t moved people into our industry at the rate the demand has changed,” Kraig Foreman, president of e-commerce for DHL Supply Chain, told WSJ. North America.
Read more: Retailers battle supply chain issues ahead of the holidays
To help meet demand, DHL Supply Chain plans to hire 20% more seasonal workers this year compared to last year, offers higher hourly wages and adds collaborative robots to facilitate order picking.
Larger retail outlets are also pulling potential workers from the ranks to meet growing online demand, a change from the traditional addition of more in-store staff for the holiday shopping season. Walmart, for example, plans to hire 20,000 people for its supply chain operations, while Target is looking to hire 100,000 seasonal workers.
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Some warehouse operators have gone beyond wage increases and other monetary benefits and have started offering shorter shifts to help people meet their childcare obligations, the WSJ Brian Devine, senior vice president of logistics staffing company ProLogistix.
Devine said the labor shortage has been “the most frustrating thing in my 26-year career,” adding that the cost of recruiting has doubled as the company turns to radio ads and billboards. display to attract workers.