Industrial Revolution 2.0Monica Duong
The Rise of Robotics & Automation
The buzz in board rooms in America’s manufacturing and supply chain sectors is to do more with less, implement automated and robotics solutions that help reduce labor costs and create safer working environments.
The renewed sense of urgency and the challenge ahead for many companies is finding willing and qualified skilled labor for manual labor manufacturing and logistics jobs. There are currently over two million jobs unfulfilled in the manufacturing and supply chain sectors due to an aging workforce and younger generation lacking desire for manual labor positions.
The false narrative today is that robotics and automation will replace humans in the workforce when actually manufacturers and distributors that focus on removing redundant and unsafe manual tasks will be more cost effective, improve customer service and provide a safer work environment.
As manual labor jobs have been moved offshore, many companies have realized that overseas factories are actually highly automated. As companies learn that the same automation can be used in America without the on-going challenges of import logistics and product quality disruptions, more automated on-shoring will commence.
Many businesses are starting to realize that this technology can be implemented in America without the lead times and product quality or communication issues of overseas suppliers.
Workers that previously practiced manual material movement and redundant lifting can now be re-deployed to higher paying technical jobs, including: robotics installation, maintenance and on-going process improvement programs.
Companies should adopt Apprenticeship programs in robotics design, manufacturing and maintenance with local community colleges, high schools and vocational training organizations so that college and non-college bound students can build a foundation of knowledge for their current and future employers.
The manufacturing floor or logistics worker of the future will provide a hybrid of white and blue-collar skill sets creating a bottom up approach to process improvements.
As “Made in America” continues to hold and manufacturing remains on-shore, companies will need to consider industrial automation for pallet storage regarding in-bound raw material, buffer zones and finished goods areas.
Using Automated Industrial Robotics such as Pallet Shuttle and Glide Rack combined with Laser Guided Unmanned Vehicles (LGV) provides a low-cost, fast track implementation and modular storage potential for long term flexibility.
These systems and equipment even have the opportunity to be lease financed so upfront costs stay low to help cash flow overall improvements.
In reality, robotics and automation are expected to be the industry’s biggest game changer, as they will enable manufacturers and distributors to improve workers’ lives at the micro and macro levels – greater automation, efficiency, safety and productivity.
As a result, the North American manufacturing sector will not only survive, but it will showcase the power of our innovation and ultimately revolutionize the way we work.