Workers who complain of repetitiveness say they feel like robots because they do the same thing all day, day after day. But HR managers might want to take a moment to set them straight: They should count their lucky stars that robots haven’t taken over all of those jobs.
One reason is that the United States is behind the curve.
Even though labor costs here are among the highest in the world, employers are gun-shy about putting robots to work.
Why? They fear the backlash that’ll come when those robots put real people out of work.
That’s not always the case, says the exec who runs a wire products fabricating company in Baltimore.
He saw it as a matter of survival for his business compared to extinction, where he wouldn’t be able to compete and would be forced to go under.
When he took over, the business had 18 employees, most in repetitive, labor-intensive jobs, bending wires — about 300 an hour.
Now 30 people work at the company. One person oversees the four robots, who crank out 5,000 bent wires per hour.
The company now has six times the revenue and jobs for plenty more workers.
Robots bring other qualities to the table:
- ability to make lower-priced products, because of lower labor expenses
- increased safety
- the capacity to weld and move parts or materials
- decreased margin for error (than humans), and
- speed needed for expedited deliveries.
Certain industries, such as automaking, began adopting robots more than 20 years ago.
Another reason holding businesses back — besides fear of backlash — is the initial expense. Most robots will run a business $20,000 to $30,000 — and some as high as $100,000.