October 05, 2018
The company recently remodeled the existing warehouse with an automated system created in partnership with Daifuku, a provider of material handling systems. Now that the system is running, the company revealed during a walkthrough of the new facility, Uniqlo has been able to cut staff at the warehouse by 90%. The warehouse can now also operate 24 hours a day.
- Uniqlo replaced 90% of staff at its newly automated warehouse with robots (Quartz)
People sleep; robots don't. That's a big change.
One immediate consequence: a "slower" robot that can work 24/7 may be faster than a person, who has to go home at night. I first thought about that when reading about SAM:
But I think work throughput is just the tip of the iceberg; a lot of life runs on human cycles, and I wonder whether any of the following will change, as robots become more widely used:
- Will daily electricity use shift, if fewer buildings are occupied by people?
- Will daily commute patterns change?
- Will "construction season" (a big deal in the Midwest) last longer?
- Will crop harvest patterns change?
Sometimes the second- and third-order effects of major changes are the most surprising.