As automation and robotics systems become more available, efficient and affordable, supply chain entities, from warehouses to manufacturers, are leveraging the technology more the ever before.
Why has there been such a big shift towards these solutions? There are many reasons, but one has stood out as being the most influential: ROI. Simply put, the return on investment of robotics is growing, and as the technology continues to advance, supply chain organizations stand to gain even more.
How are warehouses, manufacturers, packagers and other companies getting their money’s worth when it comes to robotics? There are many benefits that make the switch to automation a smart move.
Times are changing, and the new generations entering the workforce are staying fewer years with their current employers. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers ages 55-64 stay with employers an average of 10 years.
As those workers leave the workforce, they are being replaced by younger generations, and recent data shows that workers ages 25-34 have average tenures of only 2.8 years.
When employees leave, companies are forced to make new hires, which can cost an average of $7,000 for warehouse workers. This includes everything from departure costs for leaving employees, advertising for new hires, time spent in interviews and time spent bringing new employees up to speed. Robots, on the other hand, never quit or switch jobs.
Supply chain operations are active 24/7/365. Warehousing, manufacturing and delivery operations must be efficient, especially in the age of ecommerce, where customers are demanding faster delivery for online orders. Human workers have downtime; they take breaks, sick days, vacation, etc., and they work less efficiently than robotic counterparts. 98% of companies in a recent survey said that a single hour of downtime can cost up to $100,000. Robotic solutions provide greater efficiency while heavily reducing downtime across the entire supply chain.
OSHA estimates that employers pay a $1 billion in direct workers’ compensation costs per week. This doesn’t even include indirect costs of “training replacement employees, accident investigation and implementation of corrective measures, lost productivity, repairs of damaged equipment and property, and costs associated with lower employee morale and absenteeism,” says OSHA. As robotics technology becomes more advanced, safety is heavily increased. The repetitive work performed by robots has been shown to reduce workplace injuries and time taken off by making work easier and safer, all while reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries workers commonly suffer.
One misconception of robotics and automation is that the technologies are putting hard-working employees into the unemployment line. Years of research has found the opposite to be true. Modern “cobotics” has humans working safely alongside robotic counterparts to increase production capabilities, and it’s helping employees reach new heights in their careers. As robots take the menial, repetitive, day-to-day tasks from human workers, those workers are receiving training in working alongside them, increasing their capabilities and skills. As a rule, robots are best for removing employees from activities that are Hot, Heavy, or Hazardous, places where the human body may break down long term.
Robotics are also providing new career pathways for people with disabilities and limited mobility. As the technology advances, safety is becoming extremely well managed and systematic. Many robots have functional safety built in, and combining those capabilities with automation safety solutions like light curtains, area sensors, safety PLCs and relays, door switches and safety mats are making cobotics safer, more productive solutions for supply chain entities.
Looking to incorporate robotics solutions into your business? Discuss your robotics solution with Motion Ai today.