The State of Our Automated World: Part 1

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In today’s world, science and engineering disciplines are advancing as never before. While scientists are continuously discovering new spaces and expanding the boundaries of the universe as we know it, engineers are working to ensure that these innovative developments can be used in every field.  At the end of the day, however, we have a world where the population is getting older — where people who are in the workforce are increasingly in danger of being replaced by robots, automation systems and software.

According to the US labor force report, over the next 4 years, 6% of the workforce will be taken over by robots. Looking at the numbers of other private research companies, we see that these rates are very optimistic. In January of last year, a study conducted by McKinsey & Company showed that 60% of all sectors actually had a workforce of 30% that could be taken over by robots but haven’t done so. In addition in January 2017, the chief economist of the Bank of England made a statement that the main tasks of 80 million Americans and 15 million UK citizens could be taken over by robots. If this change were to happen, it could create huge financial advantages for large enterprise businesses.

Another important change is in the way that companies do business. For example,  Apple builds designs in the United States but get display panels bought from Korea. Those are then manufactured in factories in China, transported by a third-party logistics contractors from various countries such as Germany, and are finally distributed to stores all over the world. The globalization of manufactured goods within the supply chain has lead today’s companies to evolve. Now, more make strides towards becoming a supply chain focused enterprise.

We can feel the power of this change on the companies who were once only in the supply chain but are now in the giants of the world, like Amazon. Robotics enables enterprise companies to produce goods faster, cheaper, and more reliably than with human effort alone. Robots in the warehouse expound on this tenfold, allowing even the most mundane tasks to be completed with a swiftness and accuracy that humans cannot replicate.

In the Supply Chain and Logistics sectors, the main functions that have been regarded as transport and warehousing activities are now becoming some of the most vital components of all business activities, including value-added services such as installation, software update, local packaging operations and ironing. But how many of these jobs will robots take over in the next four years? What amount of labor will be replaced, and how will these changes take place? Check back next week for our next installment in this robotics series to find out more.

This article is part 1 of a 2 part series on automation in the logistics industry and how robotics can change the future of warehouse management. If you would like to learn more about the current state of robotics and whether it’s feasible for small to medium sized businesses, please check out our article on this subject here.

 

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