Cobots in FMCG
27 June 2017
If you have been reading our blog over the past few months, you will no doubt have noticed several articles on the automisation of the workplace, artificial intelligence and robots. These are examples of rapid changes to our technology and the way we do things. In that sense, more often than not, they are seen as something of a threat to our livelihoods.
I have seen within our own Manufacturing and Engineering industries, over the years, several jobs that have been lost to that process. But, in the same way that we no longer have chimney sweeps or matchstick sellers, these advances are simply ways in which our world is evolving. If our factories and warehouses are to remain open, we have no choice than to keep up.
The reality is that most of these robots will need to be monitored and maintained by humans. Meaning that we won’t necessarily lose our jobs, we’ll just have to readjust our skills set. The latest example of this is “cobots” – collaborative robots within the FMCG industry.
The UK FMCG industry is seriously lagging behind its international counterparts when it comes to the use of robotics. These “cobots” are designed to work alongside their human colleagues on the production line. They can even take on their fair share of separate tasks. They are also designed to exert a small amount of force in order to prevent accidents within the workplace.
These “cobots” will be set up to maintain a specified distance from human workers and will work at a designated speed, eradicating the fear of being replaced by a robot who can do the job of four humans in one day.
The increasing versatility of these machines, however, means they are able to assist with tasks such as picking, packaging or food preparation. Their high levels of consistency will almost eradicate any minor difference between the products. They can also tackle the most repetitive of tasks – ones that human workers typically find monotonous – without a complaint.
Last week, I discussed the introduction of smart factories to the UK. These new and emerging technologies are going to help us compete on the international markets to secure bigger and better deals. The use of “cobots” (or any form of artificial intelligence) will assist with this. Combining technological advances with our traditional pool of hard-working candidates will ensure that our manufacturing and engineering industries and both productive and profitable.
The introduction of any robotics within our industries will result in a massive up-skilling of our existing workforce; the majority of whom are eager to learn and readjust to new ways of working. With our universities focusing on STEM-related degrees, future generations of workers will already be equipped for the task of working alongside AI.
If the introduction of robotics within Manufacturing and Engineering industry has changed your recruitment needs, me and my team would love to help you. We can speak with confidentially about the best approach for securing talent for your business. Click here to see our details.
Written By Michelle McLaughlin