What role does picking technology play in job satisfaction?

Healthy and satisfied employees are the key for a successful company. However, here is the question of how to get to this situation, especially in a modern working world with high time pressure and constant change. The Research Clan “Cognitive Ergonomics” of the Center of Excellence has conducted employee surveys in order picking in order to investigate different influencing factors on mental stress and satisfaction at the workplace – an important building block for the development of human-centered industry 4.0 solutions, which are the focus of the clan.

The human being is still of great importance in picking, because the use of robots is not yet efficient enough. “The assembly of articles requires a high level of concentration in order to avoid mistakes, a high level of motor precision in order to be able to pick even small articles with the most varied shapes, and good fitness, as far more than 10,000 steps have to be taken per shift. ” explains Dr. Johanna Renker. Smarte Technologien sollen hier den Mitarbeiter unterstützen, damit kürzere Wege gewählt und Fehler vermieden werden. Are these technologies really supportive or are they overstretching?

Dr. Johanna Renker from IfADo and her colleague Dr. Veronika Kretschmer from IML interviewed picking employees from different companies who used different picking methods such as pick-by-voice, pick-by-light or pick-by-scan. The evaluation of 88 employees showed that it is not the type of technology that is most relevant, but that it works flawlessly. “Nothing is more frustrating for employees than a device that doesn’t work properly, crashes all the time, or displays something wrong,” says Dr. Johanna Renker. The pick-by-voice system, which allows information to be heard via headphones and confirmations to be made via voice input, is doing particularly well. Your hands are free to grasp the items and you can concentrate visually on your surroundings.

However, the study also shows that good social contacts and good leadership quality are decisive for high employee satisfaction. “No matter how good the new technologies are, they cannot replace interpersonal relationships or compensate for the inadequate leadership qualities of superiors,” explains Dr. Johanna Renker.

Photo: Leibniz-Institut für Arbeitsforschung (IfADo)