Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Robots Have Babies

"Robots have babies", one Chief Executive Boards International, member told another at a recent meeting. This was during a discussion where a member mentioned he had an employee unloading parts from one process and stacking them in a particular orientation for the next process. "What you need is a robot", said the member with a lot of experience replacing people with automation over the past several years. The objection, "I can't afford a robot" was met with "Yes, you probably can, when you figure that a robot 2 generations old could do that simple operation, and that there are people refurbishing those old robots and selling them for a fraction of what a new one costs."

The member with the parts-handling process looked like he'd been hit in the forehead with a 2x4. Another one of those ideas he would likely never have had on his own without the benefit of another business owner's experience. And then the automation-savvy member went on to say, "After you've watched that robot do that operation flawlessly for several thousand cycles with no benefits, no sick leave, no drama and no whining, you'll understand why robots have babies." I'm betting some robot refurbisher is in the process of getting an order.

Are you looking for ways to take repetitive, non-value-added activities and teach machines to do them rather than people?   It's probably something you need to be working on.  By the way, stop worrying about persistent national unemployment statistics. A huge number of those jobs aren't coming back because they've been eliminated by automation. Other companies have figured out how to do more with fewer people, mostly due to factory automation or IT systems. Those people won't be back to work until they've figured that out and retooled themselves to do something that can only be done by a human.

If you've figured out how to produce more output with fewer people, please click "comments' below and share your experience with others.

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International


Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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