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How Automation Plays A Key Role In Addressing Labor Shortage

February 08, 2024

In the dynamic landscape of today's global economy, labor shortages pose a significant challenge across various industries; and warehousing is no exception. As the supply chain's backbone faces unprecedented challenges, warehouse automation stands out as a vital solution.

“The use of robotics and automation technologies could help alleviate the impact of the shortage by handling tasks that are dirty, dull or dangerous, thus enabling human workers to focus on more skilled and strategic aspects of their roles.” (Automation World, 2023)

Understanding the Labor Shortage Crisis

  • Demographic Changes:
    • Aging populations in developed countries result in a shrinking workforce as older workers retire
    • This leaves fewer replacements, creating a notable gap in the labor market

  • Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic
    • The pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work
    • Heightened health concerns led workers to reconsider career choices, emphasizing safety and flexibility

  • Change of Workforce Priorities:
    • Millennial and Generation Z prioritizes:
      • Work-life balance
      • Job security
      • Skill development

*This influences their willingness to engage in physically demanding or monotonous warehouse jobs.

  • Educational Shifts and Skill Mismatch:
    • Evolving educational priorities and a widening skill gap compound the labor shortage
    • The changing demands of the job market reveal a misalignment with the current education system, intensifying the scarcity of qualified workers

Warehouse Automation – Bridging the Gap

As the labor shortage deepens, warehouses are turning to automation technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, and intralogistics software systems to bridge the gap.

  • Increased Efficiency and Productivity:
    • Automation systems operate tirelessly, enabling:
      • 24/7 warehouse operations
      • Higher productivity levels, especially during peak periods

  • Reduced Dependence on Labor:
    • Automation tackles routine tasks, diminishing reliance on manual labor for:
      • Handling
      • Sorting
      • Packing

  • Risk Mitigation through Automation
    • Automation minimizes exposure to potentially harmful tasks
    • Actively reduces workplace risks, fostering a secure environment for warehouse personnel

  • Skill Diversification:
    • Automation demands skilled workers for:
      • Operation and maintenance
      • Creating opportunities for:
        • Upskilling
        • Reskilling, aligning with the preferences of the younger generation

Automation not only enhances operational efficiency and workplace safety but also creates new opportunities for skilled jobs, fostering a dynamic workforce in the evolving landscape of modern industries. “AI and robotics creating a shift of roles for the workers and robots, producing products at great speed and lower cost, and advancing product personalization and customization. This is a transformation of manufacturing in its current state.” (Kamlager, 2021)

Essential Warehouse Automation Solutions Tackling Labor Shortages

By strategically implementing various technologies, warehouses not only address the challenges at hand but also pave the way for a more efficient and skilled workforce. The key types of warehouse automation playing a pivotal role in mitigating labor shortages are:

  • Autonomous Vehicles:
    • “Automated guided vehicle” (AGVs) and “autonomous mobile robot” (AMRs) enhance material movement, order picking, and inventory management, working with human employees

                                         Read more on: Automation | Automated Vehicles | Atlas Toyota

  • Automated Sorting Systems:
    • Conveyor systems, sorting robots, and smart routing algorithms reduce manual labor in sorting and routing task
Conveyor Solution

Read more on: Automation | Conveyor Solutions | Atlas Toyota

  • Intralogistics Software:
    • Connects systems for seamless integration, maximizing productivity gains
  • AS/RS (Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems):
    • Robotic cranes and conveyors store and retrieve items, minimizing human intervention and optimizing space
Automated Storage and Retrieval System

Read more on: Automation | Automated Storage & Retrieval Systems | Atlas Toyota

  • Picking and Packing Automation:
    • Systems like pick-to-light, pick-to-voice, and automated packing machines reduce errors and boost order fulfillment efficiency
Automated Sorter , picture by: Bastian Solutions

Read more one: Automated Order Picking Systems | Bastian Solutions

  • Robotic Automation:
    • Industrial robotic solutions, driven by AI vision systems, enhance flexibility and accuracy in complex operations
ProMate System, Picture by Bastian Solutions

Find more on: Industrial Robotic Systems & Technologies | Material Handling Technologies | Bastian Solutions

Warehouse automation emerges as a game-changer in addressing the challenges posed by labor shortages. By embracing technology, warehouses not only ensure the continuity of operations but also create a pathway for a more skilled and dynamic workforce.


Warehouse Automation Solutions | Atlas Toyota Find an overview about all our automated solutions

Contact Us | Atlas Toyota to get more information about our automation solutions or schedule a free consultation.


We are partnering with Bastian solutions, a leading provider of systems integration focusing on equipping a broad range of industries with automated material handling technologies.

Read more on their blog: Bridging the Labor Gap: Warehouse Automation's Role in Addressing Labor Shortages | Bastian Solutions

  1. Automation World. (2023, December 5). Automation solutions to address the workforce gap. Automation World.
  1. Kamlager, K. (2021, August 25). Automation, the key to solving labor shortages. Robotics 24/7.
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