Exploring the disruption of work in a warehouse: an exploratory study of Intralogistics 4.0

  • A. Mrkalj

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The introduction of intralogistics 4.0 disrupts the work of warehouse workers who face fundamental changes in their daily tasks. Due to the increasing implementations of intralogistics 4.0 little is known about the perception of workers and managers on the disruption of work in warehouses. As a result, this study explores the changing nature and conditions of warehouse work posing the following research question: How can employees and managers address future work challenges caused by the disruption of intralogistics 4.0?
I’ve chosen an interpretive exploratory interpretive research design to further investigate this problem. A case study approach, with qualitative data collection and analysis methods, was used to explore the effect of Intralogistics 4.0 on the changing nature of work in two different Dutch organisations. Both worker and management perspectives were taken into account in this investigation.
The research has 6 significant findings. Intralogistics 4.0 changes the physical aspects of warehouse jobs alleviating workers from physical and hazardous tasks, but warehouse work has been narrowed down to working in confined spaces, with the execution of repetitive tasks by workers who are deskilled as a result of automation. In this process, the relationship between automation and the workers creates a co-dependence whereby workers highly trust technology that alleviates them of critical- and independent thinking. Overall process intelligence becomes more digital in nature and the high integration between the physical and digital worlds introduce increasing algorithmic management. Lifelong learning and learning on the job have become important in the reskilling of warehouse workers so that they stay relevant in warehouse work. The younger generation of workers adapts easier to automation that changes warehouse work, while they are helpful in coaching older generation workers to adapt to it as well. In the near future, warehouse jobs will not disappear but instead transition to more specialized roles that work both with technology and more intricate processes and functions.
The outcomes of this study confirm that advances in intralogistics 4.0 will proceed in the future, leading to more disruption in the workplace, demanding organisations to develop new strategies for its workforce to keep up with continuous disruption in this realm.
Date of Award6 Apr 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRachelle Bosua (Examiner) & Vanessa Dirksen (Co-assessor)


  • Intralogistics 4.0,
  • worker perception
  • disruption
  • warehouse
  • fulfilment
  • technology

Master's Degree

  • Master Business Process management & IT (BPMIT)

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