Robots Give Humans the Opportunity to Move Up, Not Out

Robots Give Humans the Opportunity to Move Up, Not Out
Robots Give Humans the Opportunity to Move Up, Not Out

It’s the subject of countless science fiction stories and panicked economic headlines. Are robots going to take all of the jobs?
 
While the narrative that automation is replacing humans makes a compelling dystopian film, the reality, as usual, is a lot more complicated. And for the labor force, the news is mostly good.
 
Robots in factories don’t look anything like the Terminator. Instead, they are formed to accomplish very specific tasks like assembly, packaging, grinding, polishing and loading. The mundane and sometimes hazardous work targeted for automation is typically not ideal for humans to perform. It is true that some jobs are lost in this equation, but jobs are created, as well. To get the full picture, you have to look at both sides and calculate the net outcome.
 
With that in mind, here are four truths about automation and the manufacturing industry that showcase how robots and humans can work side by side––to the advantage of everyone.


1. The manufacturing industry is actually growing.

It is true that US manufacturing jobs have been steadily declining since the 1980s. However, the supply chain disruptions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way a lot of companies thought about manufacturing. It became starkly clear that a model completely reliant on overseas production is more vulnerable than a business with domestic manufacturing ties.
 
As a result, close to 350,000 manufacturing jobs were created in 2021 in the US, and 10s of billions of corporate dollars have been earmarked for investment in factories that produce everything from semiconductors to solar panels.
 
So, while robotics have no doubt changed the face of manufacturing, the state of the industry is strong, and jobs are following.


2. There are currently hundreds of thousands of manufacturing job openings.

Automation has increased efficiency and decreased the amount of line workers, but it has not eliminated the need for human workers altogether. Far from it––last year, there were more than 800,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs here in the US. That number is expected to grow in the coming years, with more than 2 million unfilled jobs open to job seekers.
 
As of 2020, there were 2.7 million industrial robots in operation, while there were 15.6 million human employees. There are many jobs that robots simply cannot fill, and factories will always be looking for talented and motivated workers to supervise  machines and make the crucial decisions that keep everything running smoothly.


3. Robotics improve safety on the line.

Many of the jobs lost to robots on a manufacturing line are dangerous for people to perform.
 
Unsafe conditions might be obvious––using robots to handle unstable chemicals or radioactive materials is a no-brainer. But there are other dangers that not everyone thinks about. According to OSHA, heavy lifting is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries. More than a third of reported injuries were in the neck and shoulder. These types of injuries can lead to lifelong complications.
 
Robots, on the other hand, can lift up to 3,000 pounds without consequences. They can repeat the same motion with damaging irreplaceable muscles or joints, unlike humans. While not everyone views robotics as a positive for the future, 85% of Americans agree that robots taking over risky jobs is a good idea.


4. Reskilling is easier than ever.

Gone are the days when shifting your career focus meant returning to school or a lengthy certification process. The rise of remote work showed that, in the case of workplace learning, eLearning is an invaluable tool that provides an efficient and cost effective way to teach workers new skills.
 
The workplace is changing everywhere, not just in the manufacturing sector. Effective training opportunities benefit workers by giving them invaluable skills that lead to higher paying positions and long-term growth. The same training helps companies retain employees, reduce turnover costs and avoid unfilled positions.
 
Automation is changing the way factories work, but there is a huge need for skilled laborers in every area of manufacturing. As unsafe and tedious jobs are filled by robots, companies can expand, retrain and hire workers for higher-wage positions as mechanics, supervisors and innovators. The people who know the industry best are the ones already inside it, and there is a massive opportunity for manufacturers to utilize the knowledge of line workers to make improvements that lead to future growth.

About The Author


Jorda Erskine has almost 20 years in the beauty/skin care industry. Jordan currently serves as Co-Founder & Principal for the award-winning contract manufacturer Dynamic Blending. He has spent his entire career in the manufacturing and R&D world. Jordan started his career at a large contract manufacturing facility, Wasatch Product Development, in Draper, Utah. There he wore many hats in R&D, manufacturing. In 2015, Jordan decided to start Dynamic Blending with Gavin Collier due to the huge need for innovation in a stale industry, contract manufacturing.    
 
Dynamic Blending Specialists is a full-service turnkey contract manufacturer of cosmetics, personal care, skincare, dietary supplements, nutraceuticals and much more. Our team consists of industry experts with an extensive background in cosmetic chemistry (R&D), formulations, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and quality.


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