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By Tom Reddon

December 14, 2017

Does the thought of artificial intelligence startle you? Do these modernized mechanisms lead you to fear radical change in day-to-day business? As technology continues to evolve so do both manufacturing and material handling operations. In these settings, new technologies are rolled out on a daily basis. As many businesses continue to go out with the old and in with the new, artificial intelligence continues to charge to the forefront and cement itself in the very fabric of the workplace. Nevertheless, there are many benefits of artificial intelligence as they can revamp your daily operations. However in the manufacturing industry, AI’s effects are profound. Here are three examples of these effects:


1. Rapid Evolution – Artificial intelligence fosters new ways to innovate supply chain management on a continual basis. AI further derives ways to optimize many of these initiatives are the cornerstone of procurement, production and facilities management. With the integration of cutting-edge software, tools, and interfaces, process improvements are now a rudimentary science of the manufacturing field as opposed to an ergonomic ideology. Rapid evolution in intelligence products is the catalyst for this phenomenon.


2. Augment Human Workers, Not Replace Them – This is absolutely essential to highlight because it deposes a common fear many employees hold. As artificial intelligence begins to become more ingrained in the workplace, many human workers fear their jobs may become obsolete. Actually, the opposite is true, as artificial intelligence is designed to make any task easier and essentially enhance productivity. AI augments human workers, not replaces them. Augmentations to existing technologies can lead to innovative and interactive methods to complete a task, faster and better. Such imperatives promote and foster a transformative culture that bolsters employee morale and establishes best business practices. The fact remains none of this can be done without the human touch.


3. Intense Employee Training – As future warehouses are expected to reach new levels of automation, employees will have to engage themselves further in training to ascertain, understand and master these new materials. The warehouse of the digital age is synonymous with automation. With many performance metrics implemented into business processes to help organizations achieve goals and objectives, the breadth of knowledge has become far more comprehensive and in-depth. As a result, employee training has become a staple of the modern manufacturing industry. According to Advantage Business Media, 37 percent of manufacturers believe that training employees will be a source of potential trouble when it comes to utilizing artificial intelligence. What this essentially means is that education and learning materials may seem a bit overwhelming and difficult to digest, especially for seasoned veterans who have been in the business for a long time. While the technology is easy to learn and master, the learning curve may be filled with bends and turns on the way. Nevertheless, the end result will be fruitful given the fact artificial intelligence is a proven way to reduce risk, drive profit, cut costs, and boost productivity.


Bio: Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon.