Help Wanted: Fork lift drivers. Can work remotely

Looks like you can now get a job driving a fork lift and you can do your work from home:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-31/booming-e-commerce-spurs-geodis-to-add-remote-forklift-drivers

[Update: Thanks Mustangman for the clarification. The article is about future technology and not currently available as I mistakenly wrote.]

Not yet you can’t per the article.

I saw something like this in South Korea at a pharmaceutical factory. Raw materials were moved from the loading dock to storage, then storage to the factory floor by robots. If a factory only uses remote control forklifts, then no one gets hurt if the forklifts collide. That reduces growing pains.

I imagine fully automated fork lifts will soon follow.

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They’re already here:

https://www.jbtc.com/en/north-america/automated-systems/products-and-applications/products/forked-agvs

Items will be designed remotely. Built remotely. Delivered by amazon. But, used by you? Sent to recycling by amazon pickup. Only thing you need is a remote paycheck. Ah, govt welfare. That’s here now.

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Before everyone gets all excited about working remotely, I did that for about 8 years and it has a lot of disadvantages. Organizations need human contact for a number of functions, plus building and maintaining relationships. Telephones, emails, and zoom are simply not the same and over a period of several years you become isolated. Just ask if in high school or college if you would settle for a remote date or dance or dinner? People need to mix with other people.

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. We have fiber feeder line 200’ from my door. We are never getting it. Our block is not worthy. No fiber for you.

I have had to attend ZOOM meetings as a panelist to evaluate grant proposals. It’s much better to be able to meet face to face in the same room. I am glad that I retired from college teaching. I liked the personal contact with the students. I really would not have taught in a virtual classroom.
If fork lifts can be driven remotely, then cars can be driving remotely. I could send the car to the grocery store, then operate a remote shopping cart, sending it up and down the aisles and then put the groceries in the car which I could remotely drive back home. Grocery shopping for me has become impersonal with the automated checkout machines. I like greeting people.

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I’ve done a lot of remote work over the years. When I was doing consulting work - a good portion of that was remote. I’m doing remote work now because of the pandemic, and will be at least til the end of summer. The only problem I’ve ever seen with people not having human contact is if they don’t have human contact at home. Remote work isn’t for everyone, but it’s good for many and the companies.

When I as a trucker, I could not wait to get out of the terminal and down the road and away from all the supervisors.

When I first retires over 25 years agoI gave my cell phone away. I did not do anything for a year and then started driving a school bus as a part time job. I only did afternoons and field trips. I did not want to get up early esp. in the winter and scrape a cold car and then a cold school bus.

They used to have meetings immediately after the am runs and if your name was pulled for a random drug test you were supposed to report to an office in the high school. Since I was not there, they wanted to be able to contact me, so they asked for my cell phone number and email address. I said , I don’t have either, they wanted to know what to do if they needed to contact me. I said, call my home phone. They said, but what if you are not home? I said you will know that when I don’t answer it.
They told me that was unacceptable, I told them, let me know if you think of a solution. They never did . I retired from there 15 years later. I never let them know I got a computer.

After I was there 3 years they asked me why I was not removing things fr?om my mailbox. I said, why didn’t you tell me I had a mailbox

Ha ha ha. You are what we called a difficult employee. Usually the ones that you could depend on though so the smart people made exceptions to stupid rules.

Bing raised a very good point, the lack of human contact.

Having used Zoom meetings for a year I find it very difficult to read the “cues” that accompany and sometimes contradict the words and miss the individual before and after “chit chat” that often provides the context for their “public” positions.

But possibly more important, when it comes time for layoffs who do you think will get the ax?
The individual that you know personally or the remote face?

This is, of course April Fool’s Day, and the very idea of remote-driving a forklift reads like an April Fool’s Day joke. It doesn’t even make sense financially, compared to having an hourly employee present on the jobsite.

Amazing as it is, I actually agree with you. Few jobs should be 100% remote. However, we should not have to go into the office every day. There are plenty of days where a worker sits in her office all day doing digital paperwork. That can be done from home, eliminating the commute and easing rush hour traffic. We should seriously consider a hybrid system where we go to the office when it makes sense, and work from home when it doesn’t.

An hourly employee has to be paid. And you have to give him breaks. And you have to let him go home at the end of the day. And he can’t work more than 40 hours or you have to pay him even more. And if he does work 40 hours, he’s a full time employee and you have to pay for a benefits package. And he’s going to want days off. Sometimes even a week off. And he might show up to work hung over, or angry, or tired and crash the forklift. Or he might be perfectly functional but still screw up and crash the forklift because he wanted to see if he could do a stoppie by raising a load over his head and slamming on the brake. And you have to drug test him from time to time to make sure your employee isn’t driving a forklift while on meth.

Meanwhile the robot forklift doesn’t care about money, or benefits. It can work as long as you need it to. It never wants a day off, much less a whole vacation. It doesn’t get distracted, or angry, or tired, or sad, or take drugs, or feel like showing off, or any of the other conditions that can cause problems in a meat-operated forklift.

From an economic standpoint for the business, it makes a great deal of sense to want automated warehouse equipment, which is why Amazon has been doing it for years. Unfortunately from an overall economy perspective, the picture isn’t so rosy, because all of the fired workers who were replaced by machines will have a harder and harder time finding work as more jobs get automated.

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He was referring to the remote controlled forklift, not the robot (autonomous) forklift.

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It is real. And it absolutely makes financial sense to do this remotely. There are several things you’re not considering. Work safety for one. Reduce the chance of someone getting hurt on the job and your insurance premiums will drop drastically.

They are also working on completely autonomous forklifts. No driver anywhere.

Ah, missed that.

I can see a need for remote-controlled forklifts as well. Back in college I worked in a big box hardware store. We had a forklift back in the warehouse. It got used any time a truck came in, but when there wasn’t a truck, the forklift was almost always just sitting there idle, and its operator was walking around trying to look busy so he wouldn’t get sent home.

The same was doubtless true of other stores in the same chain. If that forklift had been remote-driven, then a single operator could have driven our forklift when a truck came in, and then immediately switched to driving one the next town over when their truck came in. 1 employee, working several places at once. Would’ve been more efficient.

Of course, again, that’s not so great for the employees because now you’re firing a bunch of forklift drivers. And it wouldn’t be without its flaws because there is still an advantage to having a human on site. If that pallet breaks while on the forks and gets jammed, the remote/robot lifts can’t do much about it until a human comes along to intervene.

Yes, I was very dependable, never called in sick on the day of work and was late once with a flat tire in 15 years. I carried a small set of tools even thought we had mechanics so If something went wrong on a long field trip I could possibly fix it so the kids did not miss the field trip waiting for another bus to be towed out.

We had one blizzard that had many of our buses with kids and drivers stuck out overnight where I delivered all my students and then went to two other buses, offered to get them unstuck which both drivers declined because they did not want to attempt to drive in it, so I took their kids home as well. I did not get home until 10 pm because so many streets were closed by stuck cars. A school bus with a good set of snow tires on the back would make a good snow plow.

As Mike in NH knows, what is a blizzard in Buffalo is just called winter,from Central Square and Watertown.

I am on fiber at the line on the street, then it is copper to and inside the house. At the plants I put fiber in it goes to a switch, and copper after that. We used fiber at the plants because of the long runs. I never had speed problems before the fiber, the upload and download speeds, though I had no complaints before the upgrade at home.