Dedicated to improving manufacturing efficiency

Is automation destined to rewrite all our futures?

By Paul Wilkinson, commercial & information systems manager at Pacepacker Services

It’s a fact of life; mundane tasks are not something people passionately relish. Yet, the fear of job losses due to automation continues to unsettle workers in the manufacturing sector. However, we believe that the growth in smart machines and automation will actually be a catalyst for new and more exciting knowledge-based jobs in the future. When reports are released it creates an element of scaremongering among the workforce. The fact is, robots and smart technologies are filtering into every work environment.

For the manufacturing sector, rather than dehumanising people, many of the tools today can free workers from labour intensive and mundane tasks, enabling them to focus on more creative aspects of their job, like problem solving. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), two million jobs will be created by 2020 because of the robotics industry. Certain jobs may be reduced by robotics and automation, but the study highlights that many more jobs are created, leading to greater job satisfaction.

Enterprises of all sizes are realising that they can take labour out of their costs and redeploy it elsewhere if they automate. In our view, automation safeguards the roles of the majority, making businesses more efficient and enabling it to maintain and hopefully expand its contracts by improved quality and production throughput.

Technological advances also mean today’s robots can work safely in the same areas as existing staff without the need for additional outlay on protective measures. These robots are fast and reliable, making them perfectly capable of freeing up manpower to assist elsewhere in the factory. As manufacturers compete harder on price, and business costs are being further compounded by recent policy announcements like the national living wage and new pension arrangements, automation will help business models evolve faster, increasing their chance of survival. Work should be a source of inspiration and happier employees equate to more productive employees. If automation can assist businesses to survive, increase productivity and create greater human fulfilment, everyone benefits.

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