Mention automation and a manufacturing workforce may envision a battalion of robots marching in and taking over their jobs. Technology is widely seen as taking away jobs from people and when management says they want to automate, they may spark a buzz of rumors and confusion about who’s jobs are on the line. Here are ways you can help your employees see the benefits that automation brings.
Say Goodbye to the Dirty, Dangerous, and Mundane
Automation is especially useful in handling jobs that make workers face a harsh labor environment. This is especially true in food processing plants and heavy equipment manufacturing.
Automated systems excel at zipping through mundane tasks like affixing labels, cutting wire, or other repetitive tasks that require little skill although they need the same motion.
Employees who worked in these positions often had problems with elbow soreness or other joints. Automation can reduce physical stress and strain.
Make Your Job a Bit Easier
In many cases, robots aren’t used to come in and take over jobs. More and more, the equipment is being designed to work cooperatively with the labor force. A collaborative robot or “co-bot” is becoming more widely used. A co-bot can also be shared among employees in different places around a plant and can be programmed to adapt to changing tasks.
This article The Realm of Collaborative Robots – Empowering Us in Many Forms provides a variety of case studies where robots are assisting on the job.
Say Hello to New Career Opportunities
Automated systems need a person to supervise and operate the various pieces of equipment. Stepping away from a mundane, low-skilled position can result in a career with more responsibility and technical knowledge.
Manufacturers of automated equipment and integrators, those that set up equipment in a client’s facility, will often make training part of their service. Running an automated system can add a new layer of responsibility and perhaps serve as the beginning of a new career.
Help Grow a Company and Create Job Security
Companies that may have made one product in the past can install an automated system and expand from one industry to another. This makes it necessary to keep employees and place them in new positions. A wire basket manufacturer in Baltimore, MD expanded from serving bagel shops to making products for aerospace, pharmaceuticals and other industries. Employees had more career options to explore.
In 2011, Drew Greeblatt, president of Marlin Steel, described some of the ways automation benefits the labor force. This article How to Grow Great Jobs and Profits with more Automation offers highlights from a talk he was giving and one benefit was that “employees in highly automated factories are paid more and have a more secure future with better benefits, a safer workplace and jobs that are more interesting.”
Introducing automation to the workforce does not have to be a negative event. Make it positive and keep morale high by showing the benefits that automation brings to a company and to its employees.