what happens to people when collaborative robots are deployed?

in rethinking robotics by Jim Lawton

Despite the hype, there is not a big wave of collaborative robots replacing people. Instead, they’re working with people and for people to drive productivity and customer value. They’re also filling jobs where there just isn’t enough human labor — or interest in this type of factory work — to go around.

At Rethink Robotics we sell cobots to supplement the human workforce and to allow factory workers to use their skills that are uniquely human on tasks that cannot be done by robotic counterparts. A customer of ours in Texas was trying to grow from 1,200 to 1,800 workers but couldn’t find enough people, so they used collaborative robots to take on the more mundane, repetitive tasks. In fact one of their plant managers said to me, “We all talk about finding skilled labor. I just need labor.”

Hear what else Jim has to say on the topic of cobots on the factory floor, in the video above. And check out the rest of the Rethink blog for other video segments from his appearance at Supply Chain Insights Global Summit.




About the Author

Jim Lawton

Jim had a choice upon graduating from Tufts University – chase a dream as a concert pianist or become part of the inaugural Leaders for Manufacturing Program at MIT. He chose the latter– dedicating his career to developing and delivering innovative solutions that improve the business of manufacturing. Internally at HP, and then at breakthrough start-ups in e-commerce, inventory optimization and supply chain risk management, Jim’s never once looked back. His charter today: capture the power of data and analytics to push the standard for world-class manufacturing higher—once again.

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