I see a future in which the baton is passed to robotic technology gradually. In the next five years, it is easy to imagine that the volume of people per workplace will decrease in tandem with the scarcity of labour.
As less young people show a desire to work in warehouses, the need for automation gathers momentum. For this reason, the industry must start developing solutions. Vanderlande is being proactive in defining a response – in this case, robotics.
In time, robots will advance and take on more work, enabling human operators to support multiple robots. One of the main drivers will remain the availability of people and the requirement to fulfil day-to-day deliveries.
As technology continues to improve, we can fine-tune our approach to robotics engineering. One of the advantages to food retailers of investing in robots is their adaptability. As algorithms improve, it is predicted that they will ‘learn’ more and increase their capabilities.
The application of robotics is going to be a central topic over the next few years, and we can expect to see:
- a dwindling workforce in warehouses
- an increased demand for automation
- the rise of collaborative robotics
- further integration of robots.
I think that food retailers should see this as an exciting opportunity. As an integrator, we’re further analysing the areas in which robots can be of value. It’s my hope that retailers will want to take the next step with us.