Whilst robots could never replace the irreplaceable presence, skills, knowledge and understanding of the EA, it is worth a high-level assistant being clued up on exactly where they could be entering the organisation – what automation opportunities and challenges lie ahead for your C-suite this year?
Last month The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) released the top five trends expected to shape robotics and automation around the globe in 2022.
- Robots adopted by new industries
Segments relatively new to automation are rapidly adopting robots with consumer behaviour driving companies to address demand for personalisation of both products and delivery. The e-commerce revolution was driven by the pandemic and will continue to accelerate in 2022. There are thousands of robots installed worldwide today that did not exist in this segment just five years ago.
Meanwhile, to address labour shortages, companies that previously turned away from automation will reconsider. Businesses that rely on service workers, such as retail and restaurants, and are unable to fill job openings are likely to invest in automation to meet patrons’ needs say the IFR. Relatively new robotics customer industries like delivery and logistics, construction, agriculture and many more benefit from technologies advancing by the day.
- Robots will be easier to use
Implementing robots can be a complex task, but new generations of robots will be easier to use. This trend may seem simple, say the IFR, but offerings that focus on complete ecosystems are adding tremendous value by reducing the effort and the time to operation. Might this be the push your organisation needs to invest in automation?
- Robots will see humans upskilling
Robot manufacturers like ABB, FANUC, KUKA, and YASKAWA all register between 10,000 and 30,000 participants in their robot classes across more than 30 countries every year. Robotics is changing job profiles of factory workers for the better. New training opportunities with robotics are a win-win strategy for companies and employees alike: Dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks get automated while people learn key skills for the industrial workplace of the future and increase their earning potential throughout their careers.
- Robots secure production
Trade tensions and post-pandemic issues are driving manufacturing back closer to the customer. Supply-chain issues lead companies to consider nearshoring with automation as a solution. One particularly revealing statistic from the US shows how automation is helping businesses get back to business – robot orders in America in the third quarter of 2021 were up 35% over the same period in 2020, according to the Association for Advancing Automation.
- Robots support digital automation
In 2022 and beyond, we see an emphasis on data as key enablers of future manufacturing. Data collected from intelligently automated processes will be analysed by producers to make more informed decisions. With a robot’s ability to share tasks and learn through AI, companies can also adopt intelligent automation more easily in new environments, from construction to food and beverage packaging facilities to healthcare labs.