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Skill Boss Logistics: The Key Link in a Supply Chain of Skilled Workers

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) sweeps across the world and businesses implement Smart Factory technologies on a wider scale, industry-leaders in logistics and material handling like Amazon, Target, and UPS have increased the efficiency of package sortation and delivery by adopting these innovative IIoT technologies. However, as more companies adopt Smart Factory technologies, the pool of candidates qualified to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot them shrinks, a phenomenon referred to as the Skills Gap.

An article from Material Handling & Logistics News citing a report from CBRE states, “Rapid growth of e-commerce will create demand for an additional 452,000 warehouse and distribution workers in 2018-19, which could turn out to be unsustainable in the already labor-strapped industry.”

California’s Skills Gap in Logistics

In California, the logistics industry is big business. California is in many ways the logistics gateway to the rest of the nation and a strong link in the national and international supply chain. According to a 2017 report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the trade and logistics industry employed over half a million people in Southern California alone, so the Skills Gap is squeezing the Golden State harder than most.

A report from the Public Policy Institute of California titled California’s Need for Skilled Workers outlines how the gap between the available job opportunities that require “some postsecondary education but less than a bachelor’s degree” and available California workers could grow to a 1.5 million qualified worker shortage by 2025, a gap that will harm California businesses and serve as lost opportunities for Californians looking for work, but not qualified.

As the report states: “The skills of the state’s workforce will have an impact on California’s national and international competitiveness: the failure to meet workforce needs could limit or alter the state’s economic growth.”

The problem is simple: with the adoption of Smart Factory technology, logistics and material handling jobs where people can walk in with no experience and succeed are becoming scarce. The jobs in these industries are rapidly becoming highly technical and require employees with specialized technical training and certification.

The solution is also simple: upskill the current workforce and train unskilled potential workers on how to operate, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair advanced systems that increasingly incorporate new Industry 4.0 technologies.

Luckily, a new training and assessment device has debuted that is specifically targeted at upskilling current and potential logistics professionals and closing the skills gap in the supply chain industry. This system was developed with input and feedback from several world-leaders in the logistics field to ensure the capability of their current and future workforce. The device is Amatrol’s Skill Boss Logistics.

Skill Boss Logistics

Skill Boss Logistics is a training and assessment device for evaluating the skill levels and competencies of future supply chain automation technicians. Developed by Amatrol, the world’s leader in technical education, Skill Boss Logistics is a working automated distribution system that performs real-world operations, such as package tracking, automatic package queuing and priority release, electro-pneumatic sorting, and much more! The bench-sized automated sortation system can fit easily in any classroom or training facility, and is transportable for use in multiple locations.

Skills for training and assessment fall into three key areas:


Trainees will be able to demonstrate fundamental safety skills like lockout / tagout, use basic measurement devices and hand tools, perform system operation tasks like operate a sortation system in manual and automatic mode, adjust electrical and pneumatic systems, perform basic maintenance tasks like connect a pneumatic circuit using a schematic, and adjust scanners and logistics automation equipment.

Equipment Repair

This system can be used to train and asses a user’s ability to install and troubleshoot mechanical, electrical, and fluid power systems, as well as how to interpret blueprints and component specifications. Trainees will align and set the sag of a basic chain drive, install and replace electrical components and wiring, install and replace pneumatic components and conductors, and troubleshoot a pneumatic system, an electrical motor control circuit, and a mechanical power transmission.

Network Repair

Trainees can use the Skill Boss Logistics to: check indicators for correct operation; adjust electrical and pneumatic systems; create, edit, operate, and troubleshoot controllers; and install and operate networks and scanners. Specific skills in this area include: verify that a PLC output operates the correct machine function; create and configure a new PLC project; install basic Ethernet network cabling and components; and monitor the operation of Ethernet devices.

Additional Features:

Industrial Quality Components

Amatrol uses components that learners will actually find in real-world industrial environments in order to best prepare future members of the workforce. Skill Boss Logistics features components like variable speed motors, a PLC, an Ethernet network with a managed switch, an HMI, barcode scanner, multiple conveyors, and a variety of sensors.

Warehouse Control System

This system features a touchscreen, PC-based Human Machine Interface that controls and displays order entry, operation monitoring and control, real-time system performance evaluation, and alarm and fault monitoring.

Computer Based Fault Insertion

Skill Boss is equipped with Amatrol’s exclusive FaultPro computer-based fault insertion system. FaultPro safely inserts over 45 real world faults to enable training and assessment of troubleshooting skills and provides data reports for assessment and improvement.

Supply Chain Certifications

Additionally, the Skill Boss Logistics is used by the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) for its Supply Chain certifications, including the Certification in Maintaining Equipment/Systems (CTSCA – EM), Certification in Installing, Modifying, Troubleshooting, and Repairing Equipment/Systems (CTSCA – ER), and the Certification in Installing, Modifying, Troubleshooting, and Repairing Basic Controllers and Networks (CTSCA – NR).

See Skill Boss Logistics in Action!

Written by Karl Prinz

Karl Prinz is currently the Marketing Operation Team Leader for Amatrol, Inc. You can connect with Karl on Amatrol’s TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and YouTube pages.


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