No Robot Takeover in the Warehouse!

No Robot Takeover in the Warehouse!

Warehouse workers are quite confident that robots will not replace them … at least, not yet.

Part of their jobs involves precision work that robots do not have the dexterity or range of motion to perform. To warehouse workers, the greatest potential for robots is to assist them with physically demanding or unpleasant tasks.

Supervisory work also seems immune to a robot takeover.  Moreover, the high cost of robots rules out their use in small- to medium-volume operations.

At least for now.

This post is based on the NPR article, ‘Don’t Think a Robot Could Do This’: Warehouse workers aren’t worried for their jobs, by A. Selyukh, January 25, 2018.  

Discussion Questions

1) What is the primary reason warehouse workers feel that their jobs are secure? Should they feel that way?

Guidance: Discuss the present vs. future of robots in warehouses. The robots with which workers are familiar are still unable to do many of the picking and packing tasks they perform. Therefore, their jobs appear to be secure for the time being. However, the development of skilled robots, the need for greater efficiency, and the falling costs may threaten many of those jobs in the Continue reading

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Truckers, C’mon Back

Truckers, C’mon Back

The current demand for truck drivers is high. Or is it turnover that’s the problem? Or freight to carry?

A combination of driver shortage, high turnover, stressful life, and stagnant pay have contributed to a widespread rush to lure new drivers with financial incentives. If the shortage persists, the imbalance between supply and demand in this labor market will cause disruptions in the supply chain.

This post is based on the USA Today article,  Trucking Firms Offer Up to $8,000 for Drivers to Ease Shortage, by T. Evanoff, December 26, 2017.

Discussion Questions
1. What are the reasons for an apparently short supply of drivers?

Guidance: The main reasons seem to be low pay, demographics, difficult living conditions, and lack of privacy. The pay has been relatively flat since the 1980s, and like in many other industries, it has not fully recovered from the negative effect of the great recession. The large trucking companies’ hiring of inexperienced drivers seems to have heightened that effect. Many drivers are baby boomers and are retiring, further exacerbating the shortage. Truck drivers work many hours and are away from home most of the time. The addition of cameras in the cabins Continue reading

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Anheuser-Busch Tanks Up With Tesla

Anheuser-Busch Tanks Up With Tesla

December 20, 2017

Article Title: Anheuser-Busch Turns to Tesla for Huge Semi-Truck Order

Author of Article: Chris Morris

Date of article: December 7, 2017

Source URL: http://fortune.com/2017/12/07/anheuser-busch-tesla-semi-trucks/

Anheuser-Busch has placed an order for 40 Tesla semi-trucks.  AB is the second company reported to place such a large order; trucking company J.B. Hunt also placed a pre-order for as many as 40 trucks.

What is unique is that the semi-truck is all electric with a 500 mile range, and offers autonomous driving.  Anheuser-Busch plans to keep the driver in the truck, primarily to unload the beer.

Discussion Questions
1. Why would Anheuser-Busch pre-order the new Tesla semi-truck?

Guidance: You can begin with reducing their carbon footprint.  As the article mentions, they have a goal of reducing their carbon footprint by 30% by 2025.  It also offers many advanced safety features, and promises a 20% reduction in cost over the standard diesel truck.  With the autonomous driving feature, the driver might be eliminated in the future–further reducing costs.

2. Should the driver be eliminated at some point in the future as the autonomous driving technology matures?

Guidance:  At some point, the technology will make the Continue reading

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