The current pandemic accelerated demand for E-commerce whilst the worker shortage increases. Retailers and Logistics providers were suffering from a weak Supply Chain (SC) due to labour turnover and the increasing need for actionable data and performance. However, according to industry sector leaders, the efficiency and evolution of the automation process are vital.
Robots are part of the current reality of companies since they are machines capable of doing the work of a human through programmed processes. Computerised and electromechanical systems have made spectacular advances.
The Robotic Process Automation
It is a transcendental technological evolution that allows new software platforms to replace human workers through the implementation of robots.
According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), -a professional non-profit organisation to promote, strengthen and protect the Robotics industry worldwide- declared that “there were 12 million robotic units worldwide in 2020, and that the number of robotic units sold in 2020 rose to 465,000. Between 2020 and 2022, there would be a 12% increase in shipments of robots worldwide.
According to that report, about 70% of robots are currently operating in the Metallurgy, Electronics, Automotive, and Military sectors. The part of the world where the phenomenon of ‘Robotics at work’ concentrates is not in Asia, as you might think, but at the European Union.
There are warehouses chains of domestic products that have already opened the doors to this new reality. Moreover, robots at companies do the same job that average employees used to do, keeping an eye on their warehouse shelves for products that have run out, correcting errors in labelling or the given prices to items, or just serving customers.
Robots that perform these functions do not work alone; there are still humans who work in partnership with them, receiving the stored data and providing solutions. Machines can carry out routine tasks with incredible speed and lower costs than those hired for such purposes.
Robotics is a way to increase performance with the same labour supply; a robot can manage tasks of moving, reaching and lifting goods in the warehouse, equality to what four employees would take on.
The advancement of Robotics in the delivery of some food products is done through immediate delivery by autonomous cars, meaning no driver, or delivered by drones.
What does the logistics look like?
The customer places the food order through an app, makes the payment and enters the address. As soon as the order is ready, an employee loads the food boxes at the car back seat; the vehicle uses a GPS to find the address and best route. It travels without the need for a driver, and upon arrival, it stops at the customer’s door.
More and more hotels and companies are incorporating receptionist robots. Although they do not cover all the customer needs, they cover an essential part. For that reason, the owners of some Japanese hotels are choosing to lower costs by reducing staff and buying robots.
However, today we must consider that those works that demand the intervention of creative and social intelligence cannot still be executed by machines, no matter how advanced they could be.
Fact about SCs needs for automation.
- The health crisis has underlined the need to build more resilient SCs and the importance of human workers.
- Automation alone can be costly and rigid because robots are most of the time intended to perform just one particular task.
- The best choice is to team up human workers with robots, joining the power and fastness of manufacturing robots with humans’ creativity, originality, and experience.
Conclusions: recent outbreaks in industrial sectors and other workspaces have emphasised the necessity of better-protecting workers’ health and safety. Robots can significantly help to protect workers. More than 50% of manufactures anticipated a shift in operations due to COVID-19.
Humans have to intensify functional training to learn how to manage robots and take advantage of their capabilities.
Are you ready to work in collaboration with robots?
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