How often have you heard these six words lately? – “No one wants to work anymore”
Perhaps that may be true, but more likely, there are not enough people to do the work. Here are 3 great reasons why automation and digital transformation may be the best solutions to solve the current labour shortage.
Reason 1 – The Great Demographic Shift
You do not have to walk very far in any city, town or hamlet to see the writing on the wall. And the sign reads, “Help Wanted”, – Opportunities everywhere! Wonderful! But where is the “help” that we “want”?
We have now completed the shift of the largest demographic (the beloved Baby Boomers) from productivity powerhouse to economically gifted seniors. Happy in their “post-work years”, we now have an enormous cohort, still healthy enough to renovate homes, vacation, dine out, and spend lots of money, the boomers have left their working years behind them. You cannot fault them (okay, Boomer), they’ve earned it. But their collective retirement has left massive gaps in every industry. And perhaps it is nowhere as dire as within the processing and manufacturing sectors. Enter automation. The addition of automation and robotics to many labour-intensive industries will alleviate some of the greatest issues facing society today. These issues include, but are not limited to, shortage of staff, relocation of industrial and manufacturing forces, and a constant abundance of unappealing work. Yes, Dear Reader, you read that correctly, all of this is true, people do not want to work. And honestly, it is because a lot of that work is dangerous, mundane or unhealthy. Who and what remains is a tiny demographic to pick up the slack. It is not so much that no one wants to work anymore, there is just a smaller proportion of working people and even fewer who want to work in conditions that they consider sub-optimal.
Reason 2 – Scarcity of Resources and Infrastructure
But what is the answer to this shortage of labour? Is it more workers? More people? Canada is seeing a housing crisis that seems impossible to address by any sustainable measure. There is currently insufficient infrastructure to support the number of workers that local industrial sectors command. These lack of resources for workers also effects both global and regional supply chains. Even if you have the right people, but they are in the wrong place, or worse still, they haven’t a place to live, we cannot execute the most elementary of economic principles, that of supply and demand. Additionally, consumerism is high, as demonstrated daily by aggressive inflation, so even the simple fulfillment of an Amazon order becomes increasingly more difficult. Conversely, automation and robotics need no housing, food, nor Worker Compensation Board, thus avoiding the requirements needed for a workforce that doesn’t exist. Problem solved, or at least diminished.
Reason 3 – Automation begets higher skilled labour
Let’s face it, many of the jobs that will be made obsolete are hard on the body, mind and soul. Automation will fill the positions that command hefty Workers Compensation Board premiums. Many of these jobs involve dangerous, unpleasant tasks. Have you ever wondered how many oil burns happen on the average shift at the deep fat fryer of your local McDonald’s? Even seemingly benign jobs come with ergonomic challenges and repeated carpal tunnel and repetitive strain issues.
There will still be wide need for skilled operators to design, build, and maintain the robots and other automated processes. The new jobs will require a higher skill set, offering current workers the opportunity to develop enhanced skills and freeing up time for employees to better serve their clients in service industries. Companies that embrace Industry 4.0 for example, will be able to collect and analyze data in real time. This will streamline production so that customers receive a better experience and product. For example, the quintessential Nova Scotia brand Oxford Frozen Foods (OFF), tasked Enginuity to help them automate their blueberry grading process. This allowed the company to deliver the right quality product to the right buyer, resulting in minimal waste, a massive increase in efficiency and a reduction in overhead. Furthermore, this allowed the staff and employees at OFF to concentrate on other tasks that add value to the company’s bottom-line. It also allowed the current staff to broaden their skill set and focus on personal and professional opportunities that they could not have done in their previous roles. This undoubtedly will result in the next cohort to hit the production floor being happier, healthier, and more skilled than the generation before them.
BONUS REASON: EMBRACE YOUR NEW ROBOT OVERLORDS!
Remember the days when we were all frightened of the dystopian future when robots were going to take our jobs? Well, the future is here dear friends, and we shall gladly offer work to our once perceived “robot overlords”. Robots/Automation are just another tool. They might move more than the snips and screwdrivers of old, but they’re just the modern tool. Just as the industrial revolution facilitated processes in which to address consumer demand, robotics and automation will refine and streamline manufacturing and production into a safer and more rewarding future for all.
Automation & Robotics Engineer Gleb Sekretta
with the Blueberry Vision QA system
Automation and Robotics was once a realm in which only the massive players could access. Only companies such as the “Big 3” automakers and other huge multinational companies could afford to automate their production lines. But today, boutique engineering and integration firms such as Enginuity. are making these technological advancements accessible to local, family-run businesses, global organisations alike and everyone in between. Couple the recent affordability of process upgrading and availability with the Enginuity’s out there, there are now attractive government subsidies and funding opportunities available to significantly offset the initial investment.
There is a lot happening in the world today, we are in the middle of a demographic shift of tectonic proportions and companies like Enginuity are well positioned to solve and tackle the challenges that this new millennium has brought.
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