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August 03, 2011


Steve Boese

The best part of this post is not actually the link to my piece, (which is of course fantastic), but rather the vintage Styx re-set in the image. Well done.

And I do agree with the premise, in fact I found it not an accident that the TechCrunch piece used the term 'hired' when referring to the plans to acquire the million robots. If we want to re-brand recruiting or staffing to 'Talent Acquisition', then why not include the acquisition of robots in that portfolio?

Earl Meininger

Great post!

My HR career has spanned 3 manufacturers, two of which are in the business of making equipment, including robots, that automate manufacturing processes. The other company is union, and is constantly upgrading their automation to remain competitive.

In high volume, low mix manufacturing, the standardized processes that humans perform are quasi-robotic; 9 steps, ~40 movements, 60 second cycle time, repeat. Repetitive manufacturing will go the way of the typewriter, and the retraining needs to take place in CNC and PLC machine operation. The folks that have these skills or get their 2 year technical degree can earn a meal ticket that rivals a 4 year degree. Automation reduces cost, improves quality, reduces variability, improves safety - the capital investment and implementation pain is worth it for companies looking long term.

What does that mean for the labor force when one robot tech can maintain the jobs that were done by 100 assemblers? I thought that "Leisure Time" was supposed to be the answer, but there are a few visual aids that lead me to believe this is untrue.

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