Maintaining the human element with robotics
April 1, 2015
by Ryan Atkinson
Investing in robotics isn’t all fun and games. While the end goal for any business is to maximize profits, it can be tough when it results in a decline in the workforce. And robots, obviously, can do what humans do, but more quickly and more accurately.
“You go into a bakery, and you’re looking at the application where the robot will be used, and you don’t really talk about it out loud,” said Brandon Woods, director of sales for LeMatic, Inc. “Nobody wants to take a job away from somebody, but if it makes sense, it’s something that has to be considered.”
Mr. Woods pointed out that sometimes the addition of robotics may not necessarily mean the loss of a job; those personnel can be reassigned to an area where the company depends more on manual labor. Instead of doing a job that can be done quicker and more efficiently by robots, now the employee transfers his or her productivity to an activity that needs it.
And it’s also important to have the right people ready to make sure they’re running efficiently. While the robots are taking over the physical labor, they still need to be monitored and maintained.
“Another point would be to leave room for manual intervention in the case where people need to get involved in the process or access equipment,” said Alex Kuperman, president of ABI Ltd. “This will likely be a requirement from time to time and should be planned accordingly.”