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However, for companies taking key strategic decisions, an underrated angle to consider is the social aspects of robotization. Robotization is a futuristic decision a warehouse or a plant takes, and since the positive social aspects of such a decision are not quantifiable, it is often not at the forefront of decision making.
These are the top 5 reasons how robotics creates a positive social impact.
Adopting robotization in plants is often treated as a method of replacing existing practices and operations, including the workforce. While robotics can mimic most of the human functions in a warehouse, the practice of ‘cobotics’ is the one that always gains traction. Repetitive and low-value-added tasks like load handling and transfer are done by the robots, while the human counterpart can participate in other high-value tasks, providing a lean operation practice. This increases their productivity and morale.
In addition to studying how they would improve existing operations, one positive social aspect is the ability of robotics to address the physical limitations of the human workforce and provide complementary solutions to tackle operational inefficiencies (Better ergonomics).
By allowing collaborative robots to handle intensive tasks, the human workforce also prevents injury or accidents due to error and/or prevents the occurrence of injuries such as tennis elbow. Dangerous tasks in processes such as welding can be given to robotics similarly, goods-sensitivity tasks like load transferring can be handed over to AGVs, while the operator can focus on analyzing and monitoring these machines.
Cobotics potentially creates the need for data analysis, management, and decision making. This gives rise to increased qualified jobs for the human workforce. An average human employee is savvier and hence are often retained and retrained to address these needs.
AGVs today are not only responsible for autonomous load transfer but also safer handling of loads and improving operational safety. With the advancement in technology and more acceptance from warehouses, AGVs today vastly reduces accidents due to human error or other related factors. For this reason, the human workforce in these warehouses finds AGVs increasingly reliable and useful to integrate into their operations.
Robotics will shape up the type of role warehouse managers and employees are tasked with. With more repetitive tasks handed over to robots, human workers will be expected to manage the data and operations of these advancements. This creates the need to acquire new skill-sets needed and contribute to the skill development of the operators as they will not be stuck in menial jobs.
* Note : AGV = Autonomous Guided Vehicles