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The robots are coming?

With the pool of available labor continues to become tighter and tighter, finding skilled and properly trained forklift operators is becoming increasingly difficult – especially for those in warehousing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,) the employment of material moving machine operators (aka forklift operators) is projected to grow 7% from 2020 to 2030, with 84,300 openings for projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Filling those open positions is a major pain point for the warehousing industry, though, and the task of doing such is forcing managers to make tough decisions: leave the position unfilled, pay higher wages or think completely outside of the box (and invest in autonomous forklifts.) Each of these come with hefty price tags, putting a dent in pocketbooks and productivity.

But what if we told you there’s a much better solution? And it’s as easy as opening up a laptop?

Autonomation within warehousing

Forklift operators load and unload vehicles, put away pallets, stack and retrieve product and keep warehouse operations flowing smoothly. They are integral to getting material sorted and out the door as quickly and efferently as possible – and with the massive increase of online shopping that’s occurred in recent years, the demand for distribution and stocking centers will continue to rise. And so will the need for forklift operators.

Addressing this, major forklift manufacturers such as Toyota, Crown, Hyster, Raymond and Yale have all developed and deployed autonomous forklifts. These units utilize artificial intelligence and guidance technology that enables them to learn and then navigate existing infrastructure, “speak” with other machines and complete tasks that typically a human would.

These self-driving forklifts absolutely lend themselves to helping managers overcome struggles when seeking trained and certified forklift operators, but the investment in robots to fill labor shortages might be a bit steeper than some are willing to make. So, how about something more affordable? Something that will put your team and your company ahead of the game? Something like forklift operator training.

An investment worth making

Anyone operating a forklift is required by OSHA to be trained and certified.

Forklift operator training courses provide students with the knowledge, information and practical skills necessary to operate forklifts safely and professionally while also satisfying OSHA’s training requirements.

By providing forklift operator certification training, companies highlight their dedication to health and safety – a major “selling point” when prospective hires are looking for jobs. Plus, forklift training not only improves overall productivity, but it gives both veteran and new forklift operators valuable insights into workplace safety best practices.

So, instead of dolling out mucho dinero for a team of robots to take over your warehouse, why not first invest in your people? After all, it’s a win-win: new hires will get their required forklift certification and veteran operators will benefit from a refresher. Head over to Easybook Training to find and book forklift operator training for when and where you need it – your employees will thank you.