Maintenance and infrastructure support roles to become critical
While investment in automation is seen as vital for companies to remain competitive, supply chain leaders of American companies still envision a strong need for human capital in the workplace, according to a Honeywell study.
Most companies that responded to the 2020 Honeywell Intelligrated Automation Investment Study indicate that automation in supply chains can lead to opportunities for new jobs within the workplace.
Two in three companies see opportunities for new and different jobs in customer service, distribution centers and warehouses.
Christine Feuell, Chief Marketing Officer of Honeywell Intelligrated said: "e-Commerce and e-retail fulfillment growth are pushing traditional warehouses and distribution centers to their limits, and automation is critical to any operation that wants to remain competitive.
"These automation and robotics advancements are shifting the workforce away from physically demanding, strenuous and monotonous tasks to more skilled tasks."
The study revealed that 8 in 10 companies see the highest potential for new jobs in in-house maintenance roles. 42% of respondents mentioned frequency of maintenance as one of the biggest areas of concern in their company's further investment in automation.
As infrastructures within warehouses and fulfillment centers become more automated, Feuell said maintenance technicians will play a crucial role in helping limit downtime.
Companies can leverage data-driven insights from a connected architecture of software and sensors through solutions like Honeywell Intelligrated's Connected Assets to perform preventative maintenance to maximize uptime.
Automation investment will continue to increase in the future, with 65% of companies planning to increase their investments within the next two to three years, the study reveals.
More than half of companies surveyed are investing in automated material handling systems – including robotics, automated storage and retrieval systems, conveyors and sortation systems – to keep their operations competitive.
The consumer-packaged goods (63%) and third-party logistics industries (60%) are utilizing these technologies the most to help grow their businesses now, the study reveals.
Feuell adds: "Even though machines are getting smarter, humans are still needed to program, build and repair them. Human intelligence is still essential to identify problems and mobilize computers and people in tandem to get the job done."
Honeywell Intelligrated has products and solutions to help in-house maintenance teams quickly diagnose and troubleshoot critical issues within the supply chain to maintain productivity.
Its industry-leading Lifecycle Support Services team offers technical support with expert service engineers who troubleshoot issues and prioritizes resolution schedules for optimal system operation and reliability.
Augmented reality technologies, including Honeywell Intelligrated's TechSight smart glasses, enable remote audio and video collaboration with experienced support experts who can provide step-by-step instructions and augmented reality overlays.
Voice solutions such as Honeywell's Voice Maintenance and Inspection can direct technicians through checklists with information from host data systems using voice commands and technician responses to help eliminate cumbersome, inefficient steps traditionally associated with paper-based or manual procedures.
The 2020 Honeywell Intelligrated Automation Investment Study was conducted April 21 to May 7, 2020, in collaboration with KRC Research, an independent third-party research firm not affiliated with Honeywell or its business groups.