While some countries around the world are concerned with immigrants taking their jobs, they should probably be more worried about being replaced by robots. Automation is the future of the manufacturing process, and around the world robots are already doing jobs that were once relegated to humans. It boils down to a simple matter of efficiency. Robots don’t suffer all the neurosis and physical limitations that their creators do. While a full-on AI takeover isn’t in the foreseeable future, robots are taking over manufacturing jobs that humans held onto for over 200 years.
In many manufacturing plants around the world, robots are already replacing human labor in staggering quantities. A factory in Japan that makes industrial robots is almost entirely run by industrial robots. Only four human workers per shift oversee this entire process of robots spawning robots. In 2013, camera manufacturer Canon started cutting out human labor at many of its factories. This is a something that we are seeing happen all over the globe. And when considering the total hours and efficiency lost on human labor, is easy to see why automation will be the future of the manufacturing process.
Research conducted by McKinsey & Company found that in 2015, 478 billion of the total 749 billion working hours spent on manufacturing around the world were able to be fully automated. When you put those hours into dollar value, it’s even more potent. Those 478 billion working hours represent about $2.7 trillion in human labor that can be channeled into other sectors of the supply chain.
As robots become more commonplace in the manufacturing process, they are becoming increasingly affordable. For example, in the United States, as labor costs increased 120% from 1990, the average robot prices have fallen close to 60%. The prices are expected to drop even lower as emerging economies demand the shift of robotic manufacturing to these regions.
India is one such emerging economic powerhouse. Indians are moving online at a phenomenal rate as smartphone use is proliferating across the country. By 2022, there will be close to 500 million smartphone users. Since Indians overwhelmingly access the Internet through their smartphones (80%), the E-commerce market within the country is expected to see massive growth.
With the fast-growing Indian E-commerce market, it is absolutely necessary to streamline manufacturing efficiency. As more businesses plan to do their manufacturing in India, the Industrial Automation Industry in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% by 2020.
In India, Quantified Commerce, a vertically integrated company, knows all about the importance of automating it’s manufacturing plants. By investing in robotic manufacturing, Quantified Commerce cut labor costs in its international GMP standard factories. This was a major component in their amazing success. they’ve seen extraordinary growth of about 100%- 300% per year over the last three to four years. We spoke to Agam Berry, co-founder of Quantified Commerce about why it’s necessary for companies to automate it’s manufacturing process.
“Before it took 400 people to do what a handful of machines can do today,” says Agam Berry. “In an emerging E-commerce market like India, it’s simply not efficient to pay hundreds of salaries to the manufacturing link in the supply chain. This means less money spent on the actual product, and a lower cost for the customer because of higher efficiency in the manufacturing process. With robotics the machines pay for themselves 10-fold, and with lower wastage alone.”
We want to be able to provide our customers with the best consumer experience available at the lowest possible price. This is especially important in India, where the emerging middle class is still finding its footing and becoming increasingly comfortable with online purchases. India needs to invest in robotics to keep up with the rapidly increasing demand because of the growing E-commerce market. In countries like India, most of the population is still not consuming the basic necessities like soap and shampoo, and with automation and higher efficiencies, that can be made possible.”
But, while many fear that increased automation in factories will lead to a job deficit, it will actually help generate jobs. By the end of 2020, it’s expected that the Indian manufacturing sector will actually create 90 million jobs. This is because more people will be spending, and the overall demand will rise considerably, but this isn’t possible without investing in automation which will drive the costs of goods lower. Then those benefits can be passed onto the consumer.
The growing prevalence of robotic manufacturing in India will also create more opportunities for education and specialized jobs that deal with robotic maintenance. Before these jobs were competitive and difficult to break into, now as robotic manufacturing becomes more commonplace, so do jobs that deal with robotic upkeep.