As the older generation (baby boomers) continue to retire or near retirement, the more the skills gap continues widen thus affecting the manufacturing sector across the globe. According to a 2016 research done by Hays Global Skills Index, the skills gap is fast becoming a chasm. A plethora of manufacturers are finding it hard to fill factory positions or jobs that have over the years fallen out of favor with workers because they are seen as injury-prone, boring, unappealing or repetitive.
For instance, a company based in Wisconsin struggled to fill 132 positions that were open on its production line. In fact, an administrator in the company’s human resource department compared it to climbing Mount Everest because even after they loosed policies on hiring people and increased wages they still couldn’t fill up the positions.
Even though temporary labor has been an option for many manufacturers, the approach has its own challenges. Sometime temporary workers don’t show up or they do and disappear at first break because they are unhappy, tempted by other options or bored. Sometimes they show up but they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, temporary workers come with a litany of challenges and since they have little or no motivation for company pride or loyalty, they are bound of make errors and miss productivity goals.
Designed to work alongside humans, a cobot can offer immediate and long term relief as well as perform all the dangerous, dull and dirty tasks. Here are reasons why you should consider solving your staffing woes with cobots.
They are reliable
There is nothing as important in a manufacturing factory as reliability and this you will get from cobots. They not only can work around the clock without taking breaks but also need minimal maintenance or updates. Cobots don’t leave early and they don’t come in late.
They are immune to repetitive stress injuries
Despite them performing injury-prone or dangerous tasks for humans, cobots don’t need to change position, take breaks to stretch or an ergonomic work station. They also keep their human colleagues safe from accidents since they are designed with built-in safety features that allows them to stop or slow the robotic arm if a human enters the workspace.
They let their human colleagues add value to the company
When cobots perform low-value tasks that your human workers don’t want to, it gives you the opportunity to redeploy them to jobs that need more decision-making skills or dexterity. This will help you to keep your skilled employees motivated with a career path that will assist them in moving into positions that have more responsibility such as robot programmers or operators.
They get to work fast
For the most basic repetitive tasks such as assembly, machine tending and screw-driving, a cobot can be up an running in only a matter of hours. Teach pendant is a quick and easy intuitive technique that is used to train the robot even if you no previous experience in programming or robotics.
Aside from getting to work immediately, collaborative robots are not only lightweight but also flexible enough to be quickly and easily redeployed to new tasks.
They are affordable
One major reason you might consider using cobots to solve your staffing woes is their affordability. These machines have low upfront costs that can as little as about the annual wage of a single hourly temporary worker. Cobots also have minimal additional costs. If you want to use your cobot for various applications then the only extra expense would be the gripper or end-effector.
Collaborative robots have the capability of fitting almost anywhere that your human worker can. Also, most of their applications don’t need safety guarding after passing through risk assessment. In fact, plenty of cobots pay for themselves in only a matter of months thus offering you a long term solution for your staffing woes and costs as well.