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Supply Chain Robotics Being Utilized for Social Distancing

January 12, 2021 | Staffing Blog

This year all companies connected to the supply chain have had to carry out major changes to their systems and processes due to the coronavirus crisis. Warehouse workers have had to up their game in a whole new way, and management has been challenged to find new solutions to acclimate to the new climate. A big part of that is incorporating ways to maintain social distancing while also needing to increase productivity due to extremely high demand. Robotics have been a savior of sorts for the supply chain, providing optimized delivery of data and minimized need for close-working employees. There are still some kinks that need to be ironed out, but this technology has no doubt provided a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Delivery of Data

Because social distancing may be necessary for the foreseeable future, many companies have been developing new technologies and investing in robotics to help. No matter what, it’s imperative that the collection and delivery of data is still being accomplished in a timely manner, and RFID & RTLS is making that simple. In fact, this and more technology being created will continue to be beneficial once social distancing is no longer required.

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS). This technology uses active tags which allow them to relay signals independently. The signal picked up from the transmitter can reach out to at least three antennas (or gateways). This is best used when you know what the item is you’re looking for, but don’t know where it is.

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID). Similar to RTLS, RFID uses passive tags. This means it has to be closer to an RFID antenna to pick up information from the tag. This is used best when an items location is known, but the item itself isn’t.

Wristband Warnings. A supplier in Germany, Kinexon Industries, came up with a wristband that warns users the second they’re no longer keeping minimum social distance from another person. The wristband, called Kinexon SafeZone, comes in two versions:

  • The basic version warns the user audibly and visually in real-time using ultra-wideband technology.
  • The extended version is able to store relevant data relating to contact made so potential cases of infection can be identified.

Wearable Barcodes. ProGlove has a new wearable barcode scanner specifically engineered for proximity sensing on the production line. Workers who come too close to one another are alerted through sound, LED light, and vibration. This is extremely helpful if the workspace is consistently loud or busy.

Smoothing Out The Kinks

It’s evident how this technology is beneficial for the supply chain, but many retailers have not been able to afford these robotics, having to put such incentives on the back burner. Not every industry is focused on optimizing their systems right now, for them it’s just putting out fires and keeping things afloat. In addition, old habits die hard, and many company owners have trouble adapting to such new and significant changes. However, as these companies slowly but surely adjust to the disruption of COVID-10 most are bound to follow suit.

Handling the Staffing Dilemma

With so many moving pieces, staffing accordingly is another troublesome piece of the puzzle. If you’re a supply chain manager who doesn’t currently use temporary staffing, now is the time. Temp workers are provided by staffing companies who find and provide employees to you based on your standards and unique needs. Pairing up with a staffing company allows flexibility with the support of a bottomless employee resource.

Additional benefits of using a staffing agency include:

  • It will save you time to focus on more pressing matters.
  • You will be working with people whose expertise go above and beyond human resource departments.
  • It ends up saving you money, as agencies eliminate costs for employment ads, background checks & drug tests, and the time it takes to train and even replace unsuccessful hires.

Allegiance Staffing has locations all over the US, and specializes in staffing supply chain businesses. Give us a call today for more information about our services, including how we can help you specifically solve your staffing issues during this time.