Robotic test cell at Auto Control Systems. Credit: Auto Control Systems
Breaking Down the Myths of Automation
Auto Control Systems | Wed, 24 February 2021 6:06PM
Article originally published in The West Australian 24 February 2021
The concept of automation in the workplace has ruffled a few feathers over the years – especially for those small and medium sized businesses operating by more traditional means. For the more imaginative, the concept invokes imagery of an I, Robot style dystopian future. For others, the concern is more centred on jobs being overtaken by machinery. Some business owners may baulk at the perceived cost of automating or be unwilling to invest in a system developed without their specific needs in mind.
While perfectly natural, a lot of these concerns are unfounded. From improved efficiencies to added safety to new work opportunities, there are plenty of benefits to show for automation in workplaces big and small – it’s not unobtainable for businesses of any size, it can be customised to suit your needs and equipment, and it need not be a dirty word.
Below is a list of four common myths around automation technology where perception doesn’t quite meet reality.
The myth: Automation in the workplace means less jobs for people
While automation has and will continue to change the face of work around the world, not all kinds of automated systems are designed to replace jobs currently held by people. In fact, many of the most innovative and obtainable automation systems are set up to simplify and make safer tasks for your staff – removing risk and time factors and allowing for greater efficiencies within your business.
On the jobs front, a report published by the World Economic Forum in October last year predicted the rise of machines and automation would create millions of jobs globally by 2025. While the report found 85 million jobs would be lost at the hands of automation systems and machines, it forecast that 97 million would be created – a net gain of 12 million jobs across the world.
That’s a lot of new jobs.
The myth: Safety is jeopardised the more machinery you have onsite
As touched on earlier, a lot of workplace innovation comes about through the need to remove risk from the worksite. There is no greater asset to a business than its employees, so engaging a system which lessens risk is only going to make for safer and happier staff.
Often automation systems will be streamlined – removing the need for several different manually operated tools by consolidating them, something which can save space and reduce clutter in the workplace. While it may seem complicated as a concept, automated systems often serve to simplify everyday tasks and create safer, happier workplaces.
The myth: Innovative new tech only comes from abroad
When people think about tech, they often think Silicon Valley and places abroad. Little do they know Western Australia has become a hub of efficiency and ideas in it’s own right. Our thriving mining industry and world-class universities have paved the way for innovators to come in and make their name by delivering solutions which are changing the world of business big and small. It’s understandable that a business may be unwilling to put its faith in the systems and technology of a company operating abroad, but we’re lucky in WA that this doesn’t need to be the case. WA sets the global standard for automation and innovation in the mining sector – it’s only natural that we’re also home to some of the world’s best automation minds, benefitting local industries.
The myth: Automation only really helps big businesses
Big business was always going to adapt early to realise the benefits of automation, but that doesn’t mean the big end of town is the only segment of local industry which stands to gain from it. Automation systems are now accessible to businesses big and small and can be tailored to individual needs of workplace and company. They may be more affordable than you think and are sure to deliver cost savings by improving efficiencies and project speed.