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Are Robots the Solution to Manufacturing Problems?

By Amanda Hagedorn

Manufacturing Robots ERP

Robotics and ERP Close the Manufacturing Skills Gap

Though recent years have seen growth in U.S. manufacturing, the industry also faces a labor crisis with over half of the workforce aged over 35 and a third over 40. Failure to attract young recruits could lead to a detrimental skills gap. To go up against these challenges, manufacturers are increasingly looking towards advanced technology, including robotics.

While the idea of robots entering our workplaces has long conjured up images of mechanical overlords ruling mankind, the reality proves anything but grim. Epicor, an ERP software vendor, questioned 2,500 businesses about working alongside industrial robots and found that over half of their respondents credited robots for freeing them from repetitive and mundane work by automating tasks. Furthermore, 34% agreed that robots were more efficient than people. 

To clarify, we’re not talking about machines replacing employees on the factory floor; instead, advanced technology is making tasks easier and giving workers more time to focus on revenue-generating activities. Robots are part of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, which refers to the wave of automation and digital innovation that is building smarter, more efficient factories. This technology has a two-fold effect on manufacturing’s labor problem: it helps to close the skills gap and attracts millennial job candidates. Let’s get into the details of how robotics can transform manufacturing.

Closing the Skills Gap

With 40% of American employers claiming they can’t find people with necessary skills, even for entry-level jobs, robots serve as a solution to the manufacturing industry’s talent gap. Where your factory floor is thinly staffed, robots can pick up the slack, working accurately and efficiently to move the supply chain along. Robotics offers other exciting advantages, including shorter cycle times and reduced waste. Automated technology can perform at a consistent speed without breaks, making it speedier and more reliable on the shop floor. The accuracy of robots enables businesses to enforce lean manufacturing standards and cut down on scrap and raw material.

Bringing robotics into the factory requires a sophisticated infrastructure that manages data and machinery. That’s where ERP software comes into play. Epicor ERP keeps your entire enterprise—the workforce, data and equipment—connected. To ensure industrial robots run smoothly, Epicor provides real-time insight so employees can detect downtime and maintenance issues before they become critical problems in your plant. In addition to monitoring equipment performance, Epicor manages robot workflows to support a streamlined supply chain. A robust ERP instance empowers users with the functionality necessary to gain substantial ROI from robots.

Attracting New Manufacturers

Despite continued efforts to embrace digital transformation, manufacturers still have an image problem. Millennials aren’t considering manufacturing as a potential career path because of their perceptions of the industry as outdated or even dangerous. Robotics has the power to change these misconceptions for good. 41% of manufacturers have found that young people crave to work with innovative technology, making robots a major draw for new talent. Automated technology can take care of many rote tasks, freeing up workers of all ages to pursue interesting, revenue-generating activities.

Like we said at the outset, robots aren’t taking the place of employees. On the contrary, robotics will eventually open up more job opportunities as workers will be needed to program and maintain the machines. These new positions fulfill the millennial generation’s desire for challenging, innovative work. Robots also increase safety by performing more dangerous tasks while the workforce moves to supervisory positions.

Additionally, ERP software creates a more interactive environment, which appeals to younger workers. The intuitive home page of Epicor 10.2 makes it easy for users to gain an overview of processes and shop floor machinery. More than previous generations, millennials want to understand their role within the entire enterprise as well as the innovative technology that powers the business, making the visibility and insight from Epicor enticing to young recruits.

Wrap Up

The shortage of young manufacturers isn’t going to be solved overnight, but robotics serves a critical role in attracting a new generation of manufacturers. However, organizations that introduce industrial robots onto the shop floor without using an ERP system incur tremendous risks. Epicor manages workflows and monitors machine performance to protect your enterprise from major errors and ensure you earn substantial revenue from factory robots.

As an Epicor Platinum Partner, Datix knows the ins and outs of ERP software. Plus, we’ve provided software solutions to manufacturers and distributors for 20 years, making us well-versed in manufacturing needs. Our expert consultants are dedicated to solving real issues, whether that’s inefficiencies or labor shortages. We’ve transformed countless businesses with ERP implementations, Unity integrations, ongoing support and other services and solutions.

Embrace the future of manufacturing. Contact Datix today to find out why we’re the one-stop shop for manufacturing software solutions!

CONTACT AN EXPERT AT DATIX TODAY!

Tags: automating processes, Epicor® ERP, lean manufacturing, manufacturing erp, millennials, Epicor® Platinum Partner, Epicor® 10.2, robots, industry 4.0

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