Rapid advancements in robotics and Artificial intelligence are making their way in the workplace. Machines are already carrying out some physical and cognitive activities. The question is what will it mean for employment in the future?
A number of debates have been going on between technology experts and economists about the effect of automation in the workplace. Some are concerned automation will cause mass destruction of jobs while others see it as a productivity gain for the economy. They even believe it will create new job opportunities.
Different innovations are impacting occupations in a variety of fields leading to significant transformations for both employers and employees. Consider the example of Uber. It’s now essential in a number of communities. Some of these drivers had driven taxis previously but now because of this new technology, far more people are being employed. Some are working full time and some are working part-time.
Automation has a huge role to play in the manufacturing industry. There is now a seamless connection between production and distribution chains. It’s easier now than ever to get products from the assembly floor to the end customers. One thing is for sure, in the coming years, workers won’t have to do the predictable physical work, information collection, and data processing. They will be responsible for other tasks. For instance, they will have to analyze the data and make decisions based on that.
Automation is spurring redesigns of the end to end processes, creating efficient operations and improving customer experience. After the introduction of software and apps, bookkeeping and accounting have not been the same. Analytics is going to be a key part in the next generation technology levers.
Even though automation is capable of so much good, it raises anxiety for workforce. However, research indicates that the fear that automation will reduce jobs is overstated. There are some tasks that cannot be automated. Even if they, this will lead to new roles.
Benefits of Automation in Business
Once the work operations are automated or robots are assigned the typical tasks, it can bring a business lots of benefits. Such as:
- Reduced operating costs: Automation can save a business a significant amount of money. Robots can perform the work of 3 -5 people. Along with saving labor cost, it also saves energy because of lower heating requirements in the workplace. Robots increase accuracy and streamline processes. That means there will be less waste material from the operation.
- Improved worker safety: Automation removes labor from performing dangerous tasks. Even your employees will be relieved that they don’t have to go near the hazardous factory environment.
- Reduced factory lead times: Automation can improve process control and reduce the time required to outsource. All processes are hence kept in-house.
- Faster ROI: Once processes are automated depending on the unique business needs and goals, it helps reduce the operating cost of the business, lead time and increases output.
- It makes a business more competitive: Automation reduces the cycle time and cost per piece. It also improves product quality. In this way, you can compete on a global scale and become better at what you do. These robots enable you to retool a cell and become better than your competitors.
- Increased production output: When a robot takes over a task performed by humans, it can work at a constant speed with less error rate. Eventually, your product output increases. You can introduce new products into the production process. The programming for this product can be done online without disrupting the existing processes.
- Improved production and quality: Automated cells perform the manufacturing process with less variability as compared to humans. This means the product consistency will be ensured and the product quality will not suffer.
- Reduced environmental footprint: Once the equipment and processes are streamlined, as efficiency increases, the scrap is reduced. You then use less space and energy to perform the manufacturing tasks. This, in turn, reduces environmental footprint and save the organization money.
Are there any risks?
The only risk a business or workplace may have to experience is over-automation. A good thing is that a report from OCED says that automation will destroy fewer jobs than we used to fear. Despite that, businesses have the risk of over-automation. But there are ways you can avoid this. There are some tasks that are best performed by humans. Make sure you find the right balance in regards to that.
Automating your business operations will be positive. It will save you time and money but make sure you don’t replace humans with too many robots.