Warehouses of the future: More companies move to automation

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — A rise in automation has some worried robots might replace human workers in factories. But Mark Manduca, chief investment officer of GXO, a global contract logistics company, said humans and machines can work together to improve warehouses.

“This isn’t so much people versus robots,” Manduca said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.” “This is about people working alongside robots to create a safer, more efficient, more accurate environment. “

Businesses are not trying to cut out human workers, Manduca said, but instead remove menial tasks from their workload.

“You think about some of the things that we’ve implemented in the warehouse— we’re talking about arms that do six times that of the human hand, so you’re six times more efficient,” he said.

GXO, Manduca said, is 30% automated. And an April 2022 report from  HowToRobot, Gain & Co and The Association for Advancing Automation shows record sales of robots to manufacturers in North America, with 39,708 in 2021. That’s a 28% increase over 2020, according to the report.

“What we’ve done is we’ve gone from the warehouse of 100 years ago, where people are pushing boxes around with hands, arms and legs, and they’re making it very difficult for themselves,” Manduca said. “We’re moving the warehouse into the future, whereby everything is synced in a matter of seconds.”

In fact, Manduca said he wouldn’t be surprised to get to an era where the industry is 50 to 70% automated.

“We’re at the foothills of the Himalayas,” he said. “So lots and lots of growth for our industry ahead.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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