Robots’ impact on manufacturing jobs

New robots will be able to create savings in manufacturing and plug short-term gaps while also help creating future jobs.

By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) October 22, 2019

The manufacturing industry is hoping industrial robots will be able to help fill the current and ever-increasing labor shortages. There are more job openings in manufacturing than skilled workers in the labor pool that can fill those positions. What is causing this shortage and how far does the impact reach?

Impact of the skills gap in manufacturing

Baby Boomers make up 27% of the manufacturing workforce and 10,000 are retiring each day. Unfortunately for manufacturers, millennials and Gen Xers are not interested in filling the jobs that are available. As a result, experts say there will be an enormous skills gap between 2018 and 2028. It’s estimated that 2.4 million positions will go unfilled.

The impact of the skills gap on today’s manufacturing business is great. There is a direct bottom-line impact thanks to the shortage of manufacturing labor. Because of the shortage of workers, overtime is increasing among current workers. The cycle time for manufacturing projects is increasing. Without workers to operate the equipment, downtime and machine utilization are increasing as well.

Solving the problem of manufacturing labor

Manufacturers are searching for a solution on how to solve the problem of manufacturing labor. They are offering incentives to keep Baby Boomers on the job, like increased pay, increased bonuses, part-time positions, and flex time. These last-ditch efforts are an attempt to keep Baby Boomers working once they reach retirement age.

Industry leaders are doing their best to form partnerships with vocational and technical schools. They are offering apprentice programs or are partnering with schools for apprentice programs. Many are trying to lure candidates with Silicon Valley-level perks. They also are doing their best to change the perception of manufacturing jobs. This is crucial because many manufacturing jobs now require advanced technical skills.

Industrial robots in manufacturing

Contrary to popular belief, reports show that industrial robots do not take away jobs. In fact, more robots create more jobs. Fortunately, new robots can still provide hours of relief to the labor crisis going on right now and that has no signs of letting up for the next decade.

New robots will be able to create savings in manufacturing. They’ll be able to perform tasks efficiently and do so with little or no downtime. New designs of industrial robots will create relief for the labor crisis in the coming years. And soon, they won’t just provide relief in man-hours. They’re projected to provide thousands of man-years of relief.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner.

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