Power Talks Ep. 4: How Warehouses Can Multiply Human Potential with Shared Autonomy

Resonant Link
May 3, 2024

In episode 4 of our Power Talks interview series, Mike Myers, Director of Product Solutions at Third Wave Automation, talks to host Kevin Lawton of The New Warehouse about how to multiply your workforce’s productivity with shared autonomy.

Myers dives into what shared autonomy is, why warehouse operators see it as an ideal way to introduce and expand warehouse automation, common challenges that collaboration between people and robots solves, and advice for choosing the right automation partner.

This episode of the Power Talks interview series was filmed live from Resonant Link's booth at MODEX 2024. Subscribe to receive email updates when new videos are released. You'll get actionable insights from logistics and warehouse technology leaders on how to solve labor, equipment, space, and other logistics challenges.

Click play to listen to Myers’ interview or continue reading to get the interview highlights.

When thinking about whether, what, and how to automate warehouse and distribution center tasks, 73% of operations leaders believe human interaction and automation are both needed. A recent study from Zebra Technologies highlighted the importance of this balance, as well as the need to automate. Logistics leaders and warehouse technology providers have seen the benefits of leveraging both people and automated systems such as autonomous guided vehicles, automated mobile robots, automated storage and retrieval systems, and more. With the right plan and technology, automation frees up more time for workers to focus on more complex tasks, maximizes productivity, and reduces operational costs.

Understanding Shared Autonomy

With shared autonomy, people work with autonomous equipment and robotics to complete work. One example is forklift supervisors working collaboratively with autonomous forklifts to teach them to complete complex tasks in unique environments and continuously learn about and improve operations. In this collaborative approach, humans share autonomy with the forklifts to help train them to do their best work and overcome potential problems or operational changes.

Solving Common Challenges in the Warehouse

Shared autonomy maximizes productivity, reduces costs, and improves worker safety. And because collaboration between people and robots is at the heart of shared autonomy, workers have more time to focus on high-value work. Workers step in and leverage their expertise when robots encounter unfamiliar roadblocks, making automation technology that much more effective. 

Choosing the Right Automation Partner

As with many strategic investments, choosing the right automation partner can be critical to accelerating productivity gains, cost savings, and safety improvements. According to Myers, it’s important to look for partners who are invested in helping you solve unique challenges specific to your application. There’s no one-size fits all approach with automation. Technology that’s easy to onboard and start using is key, as well as having a team with whom you can collaborate to continuously improve your use of, and maximize the benefit you see from, warehouse automation.

Want to Learn More?

To hear more insights and recommendations from Myers, watch the full interview.

Check out our whitepaper, Big Little Things: How Warehouses of All Sizes Can Automate Operations, to learn about common challenges warehouse operators face and how to overcome them with automation. 

And if you missed Power Talks Episode 3 with Mike Rill from Ease Logistics, watch the replay. You’ll learn about the critical role of upskilling and employee education in successfully implementing automation technology.

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