A gratifying job? Yes please!

With the labor shortage just beginning to hit the manufacturing industry, corporations need to be more and more imaginative to stay competitive. Employers need to be inventive to attract qualified and motivated staff, while facing a more than ever demanding market.

The era of robotics: Tested and proven.

The 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is currently a very hot topic, but we must not forget that the one that preceded it, is the 3rd; the one that marked the era of automation with two major inventions: industrial programming and robotics. The reason I mention it is, although the 4th Industrial Revolution is at our doorstep, the 3rd is far from being over.

In 2019, the industrial robot era has 50 years of experience and it is grat news for industries that are just starting to take interest in it. Just like anything, experience is a non-trivial thing, especially when it comes to investments and technologies. The cost of technology decreases over time, given the knowledge acquired and the non-negligible quantities that are more easily found on the market. Think of old computers: the product has improved physically and the price has adjusted and become more accessible over the years.

A very demanding market.

Do you remember when stores were closed on Sundays? Even worse, the grocery stores? Well, if you were born in the 2000s, I guess you wouldn’t know this era. Let’s remember that it was in 1992 that the legislative proposal 59 – the one that changed the establishments’ opening hours and days of business – was approved. It must be said that Quebec was trying to recover from a recession, so we now understand their logic. That being said, this change in law led (and still does today) to an irreversible change in the consumer and obviously, their behaviors have an impact up the chain.

The consumer has never been so demanding and everything leads us to believe that their wishes are not yet all obtained. To satisfy today’s consumer, it’s not just about being opened 24/7, but you also have to be able to stay competitive in terms of prices. As if, having to pay employees to cover longer time slots had no costs. As if, the stores wouldn’t have to go looking for a margin elsewhere to stay profitable, to keep their doors open.

As end-user expectations keep getting higher, all industries in the production chain are affected and must provide materials, components and products that exceed the customer’s expectations and at the lowest possible costs. In 2019 (since forever, you might say), a producer must reduce costs by minimizing downtime and must have a solid return on investment plan, especially when talking about large amounts.

The more than Welcome robotics.

From a production line perspective, robotics naturally makes sense. An automaton is never sick, does not take vacations and has no family obligations. It can work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for more than a decade. In addition, the robot will have the ability to repeat the same operation without stopping and with practically no margin of error (some go up to a repeatability of ± 0.01mm). And if the needs changed? If overnight, the producer needed the robot to work on a different material, in different cycle times and with different tools? No need to train someone for a new process, or to pay for training: just insert a new program in the automaton and you’re done! What’s better for the manufacturer than such an important flexibility? As the robot is able to reduce cycle times, the plant can produce more quickly and in greater quantities, which will ultimately allow it to have competitive prices, and thus develop its market and increase its profitability!

What about the working staff?

Robots are taking more and more space in the manufacturing world not to steal jobs, but to help them be more rewarding. Why? Because jobs with repetitive tasks discourage. Because alienating tasks do not help self-esteem. Because a job that does not bring us pride does not allow us to achieve our goals and grow. Thus, industrial robotics is there to take these oppressive tasks and replace them with gratifying and valuable work.

In fact, process automation means that instead of having technicians spend their days doing the same series of movements, companies will opt for more varied job descriptions and ask for the use of human neurons. Much more attractive, isn’t it? While the robot will work on the entrance and exit of parts on a CNC, a press or other equipment, why not use the human to perform more diverse tasks, requiring more dexterity and neurons? After all, the new generation of workers entering the market expects to put their skills and strengths to work!

Note that alongside the flexibility and freedom that employment can offer them, the workplace atmosphere is one of the most important criterias for millennials. Robots do not participate in internal competitions on performances and do not create quibbles between teammates; they only help by doing things that others do not want to do. Speaking of millennials, who loves technology more than them? Robotics will be one more reason to attract candidates to your resumé database!

Repetitive and redundant work has a huge impact on the shortage of manpower … so why not look for someone for their skills, drive, energy and human contribution? Let’s stop human waste: automation is a step in the right direction to slow down the labor shortage in Quebec. Let manufacturing employees reinvent themselves in more creative roles!