As automation and robotics systems become more available, efficient, and affordable, supply chain entities, from warehouses to manufacturers, are leveraging the technology more than ever.
Why has there been such a significant 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 in 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 for robotics? Many benefits 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 for an average of 10 years.
As those workers leave the workforce, younger generations replace them. Recent data shows that workers ages 25-34 have average tenures of only 2.8 years.
When employees leave, companies need to make new hires, which can cost an average of $7,000. The cost includes:
Robots, on the other hand, always keep their jobs.
Supply chain operations are active 24/7/365. Warehousing, manufacturing, and delivery operations must be efficient, especially in the e-commerce age, where customers demand faster delivery for online orders. Human workers have downtime; they take breaks, sick days, vacations, etc., and work less efficiently than their robotic counterparts. 98% of companies in a recent survey said that a single hour of downtime could cost up to $100,000. Automated solutions provide greater efficiency while reducing downtime across the entire supply chain.
OSHA estimates employers pay $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 advances, the workplace's need for safety is crucial. The repetitive work performed by robots reduces workplace injuries and time taken off by employees. Automation makes work safer while reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries workers commonly suffer.
One misconception of robotics and automation is that the technologies put hard-working employees out of work. Years of research have found the opposite true. Modern “robotics” has humans working safely alongside robotic counterparts to increase production capabilities, helping employees reach new heights in their careers. As robots take the menial, repetitive, day-to-day tasks from human workers, they receive 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 also provides new career pathways for people with disabilities and limited mobility. As 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 is making robotics safer and more productive solutions for supply chain entities.
Are you looking to incorporate robotics solutions into your business? Discuss your robotics solution with Motion Ai today.