Automation is essential to keeping manufacturers competitive in the global market. Though there’s no disputing the fact that some low-skilled jobs will suffer in this effort to keep manufacturing alive and well.
Over time we saw entire companies were being shut down and their operations being relocated overseas. These moves were done in large part to take advantage of cheap labor in foreign countries. labor so cheap that it offset the logistical challenges, freight costs and quality issues that exist in operating a manufacturing facility overseas. It was remarkable to me that products, destined to be sold in Europe or the US, could actually be manufactured in a foreign country and delivered here cheaper than if it were manufactured here.
Today we are seeing a phenomena coined “reshoring,” where manufacturing is being brought back to our countries. While there are many reasons for this, one cannot dispute the role automation plays. Automation is a key in combating low overseas labor rates and keeping manufacturing competitive in our new global business landscape. Wise investments in automation can completely eliminate low-skilled, repetitive tasks, almost eliminating those labor costs entirely. Granted, the adoption of automation does mean those low-skilled, repetitive jobs are going away. Though this can be a difficult issue, the real question modern technology forces us to face becomes: Is it better to lose the lower-skilled jobs and have manufacturing in Europe with a sizable level of employment, or ship manufacturing overseas and lose all the jobs?
Manufacturers have the responsibility to invest in automation to keep their factories competitive. It is not enough to simply update outdated controls to the most current platform. Manufacturers need to be driving for continuous improvement, by continually looking for emerging technologies and how they can be applied to make things more efficiently, of better quality, and with less waste. Those opportunities exist on every manufacturing floor and will always exist as long as technology advances. It is an exciting time for manufacturing and technology!
Apple is a perfect example of combining this state-of-the-art automation with reshoring: fhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbWOQWw1wkM
Do you know any other examples?