The Impact of Automation on the Industrial Workforce

The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a technological revolution. Businesses are taking advantage of cheaper electronics and software offering them capabilities never before imagined. Small OEM’s and SME’s are able to afford incredible robotics systems and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is having a huge impact on the industrial manufacturing workforce. But how much of an impact and in what way is still up for debate.

Some claim the mass migration toward advanced automation and AI technologies are taking jobs from hard working Americans. Others say that this is the natural progression of work and business. More businesses using automation technology will create a higher demand for these advanced systems. Someone will always need to be there manufacturing these systems and maintaining them as well. Instead of eliminating jobs all together, they open up the door for a booming industry.

Industry experts largely agree that the use of artificial intelligence will become pervasive across industries within the next decade. Incredible machines with language processing skills, the ability to communicate with other aspects of an operation and a manufacturer with complete control will all become commonplace. Businesses can find themselves utilizing this technology while the human workforce worries about their future. However, this may just be the beginning for the industrial workforce as work starts to migrate instead of moving away, never to return.

As these technologies become increasingly prevalent throughout industrial sectors, a new kind of workforce must be developed. There may be fewer repetitive jobs available in an industrial facility, but this will mean more robots and other automation technology will need to take their place. With a little bit of training, manufacturers can shift toward more advanced work, maintaining and even developing these incredible machines and applications.

There are some ways a manufacturing enterprise can help their workforce prepare for this modern future. If a business is looking into new automation technology, it could benefit the entire company to train a current employee to work with the new robots or software. Having an in depth knowledge of the processes that keep the facility running could prove invaluable when a task is entirely replaced by a machine. This is not only advancing the career of the individual but the business gains as well.

Automation and advanced AI will continue to leave its mark on the manufacturing industry. What matters is how manufacturers and the workforce adapt to this change. Those that refuse to accept the latest business trends will either fade away or end up in a mad dash to try and keep up.

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ibm-ceo-says-ai-and-automation-will-create-jobs-2017-1

http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/6EcHon3jlq1M73lFybANKM/How-bots-will-shape-the-future-of-work.html