If you love talking warehouses and robotics, this episode is for you. Erik Nieves, founder of Plus One Robotics and industrial roboticist, joins Kevin for today’s episode of the New Warehouse podcast. Plus One Robotics provides 3D and AI-powered vision software that helps robots perform better in warehouses and other factory settings. Erik and Kevin discuss how this technology is being used to improve accuracy and efficiency to meet eCommerce’s demands. Erik shares his insights on the future of robotics and the automotive industry’s role in robotics gaining popularity in warehousing and supply chains.
- Regarding warehouse robotics, Erik says there are only three types of tasks that need to be performed: mobility, manipulation, and storage. As Nieves explains, the challenge is that each of these tasks requires different skills. Mobility is about navigation and obstacle avoidance. Manipulation is about picking up and placing objects. And storage is about…well, storing things.
- Erik and his team look for opportunities to use robotics to improve efficiency and enable workers to focus on more valuable tasks. Automating less desirable work, like breaking down pallets and sortation, can help make warehouses run more smoothly. In addition, Nieves sees robotics as a way to help workers become more efficient and productive. By using robots to automate repetitive and dangerous tasks, workers can focus on more value-added activities.
- Erik agrees that robots vs. jobs is a legitimate question but makes a compelling argument against robots taking jobs. He presents the idea that robots are entirely unmotivated, and while great at tasks, he jokes they make lousy employees. He says if people are reassigned to more value-added work when robots come into warehouses and distribution centers, they command a higher wage. Consumers ultimately benefit from higher quality goods and services.
- Erik believes we need to make employees three to four times more efficient to address the labor shortage. He adds that when you add robots and people, that is where the true magic happens, hence the name Plus One Robotics.
Listen to the episode below and leave your thoughts in the comments.