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Automation, the Key to Solving Labor Shortages

An answer to the labor shortage resounds from multiple sources and industry experts, "automate, automate, automate."

The resounding reality is labor shortage is real and is not going away soon, if ever. Keynote speakers and daily reports emphasize labor shortage as new data and stories are released. Businesses scramble for headcount in the current employment market.

In the next decade there will be enormous pressure to find labor. How will businesses adapt to long term labor shortage and still achieve growth? Companies must build desirable company cultures and continue to be creative in recruiting and retaining employees. The resounding answer for labor shortage: invest in automation, immediately.

Industrial Equipment News

A recent study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the manufacturing industry lost 1.4 million jobs since the COVID pandemic began. The manufacturing sector has recouped 63% of positions, and this loss has set the labor force back by more than a decade.

Industrial Equipment News, IEN, shared the case study from Custom Rubber Corp on how the organization raised wages to combat labor shortage. Company culture and safety play a give rule, and Custom Rubber has been looking into investing in automation and other equipment.

MHEDA Agility Conference 2021

The MHEDA Agility Conference hosted Brian Beaulieu, CEO of ITR Economics, as the keynote speaker. Brian presented, “Economic Challenges and Changes Through 2022” to the manufacturing and industrial attendees. In his address, Brian highlighted how the role of labor will have the power moving forward, and both labor and commodities will put pressure on the bottom line.

Brian Beaulieu stated with sharp emphasis to the industrial and manufacturing audience on how to address labor constraints, “automate, automate, automate, automate.”

“Analysis: U.S. manufacturers take a double hit from labor and materials”

Rajesh Singh prepared an analysis for The Great Reboot on Reuters. The title of the article, “Analysis: U.S. manufacturers take a double hit from labor and materials.” The research outlines the business pressures associated with increased wages, inflation pressures, and supply chain weaknesses. Rajesh outlines the viewpoints of several manufacturers of all sizes and their operational adjustments. The repetitive topics voiced by all: rising material costs and employee wages, unfilled positions, and surcharges.

The future relationship between humans and machines

NAM — National Association of Manufacturers — just hosted their conference, Rethink 2021. This is an annual gathering of the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s conference on Manufacturing 4.0, commonly identified as the next wave of industrial progress created by digitization.

The keynote address by MIT’s Dr. Daniela Rus, highlighted that robotics will support workers and the future relationship between humans and machines. Robots are predicted to be an integral part of controlling precision production lines and increasing rapid production.

Rus is a visionary, seeing how AI and robotics creating a shift of roles for the workers and robots, producing products at great speed and lower cost, and advancing product personalization and customization. This is a transformation of manufacturing in its current state.

Rus identifies three waves of robotics development thus far:

  • Large, constrained, and potentially dangerous industrial robots
  • More flexible and autonomous robotics system
  • The current wave of automation builds machines that can perform increasingly more complex physical and cognitive tasks in human-centered environments

Leading robotics manufacturers solve today

The benefits of automation within manufacturing environments are unprecedented. Robots perform in hard-to-automate applications, and help manufacturing businesses adapt to the new normal; robots are well on their way to complimenting the human workforce. Automation will address labor constraints as well as position businesses to confidently meet their customer demands of the future.


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