Wednesday 24 October 2018
 
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ANALYSIS

Hiskey: Automating aspects of the workforce offers a new
way of building efficiencies

Advanced tech ‘could plug emerging skills gap’

DUBAI, June 26, 2018

With over half the industry’s workforce aged over 35, and a third aged over 40, businesses in manufacturing, distribution and retail are facing a skills gap on their factory floors, if they fail to recruit new talent before too long.

This is one of the findings of the latest research from Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth. Only a quarter (23 per cent) of businesses agreed they find it easy to attract the right talent, with the right industry knowledge, suggesting they might soon hit crisis point.

The young talent problem

Despite recent technology developments—including advancements in AI, IoT and robotics—business leaders attribute the emerging skills and knowledge gap to the fact that there’s a perception these industries are behind the times. Many businesses in manufacturing, lumber, distribution and retail believe they are perceived as being old-fashioned (23 per cent), and a quarter agree they are not seen as working within a ‘young person’s industry’ (25 per cent).

At the same time, 32 per cent think young people lack the right skills/ experience to work in industry. One-in-five (22 per cent) believes that the education system simply isn’t doing them any favours primarily because it’s not preparing or encouraging young people into manufacturing.

Robots to build efficiencies into the workforce

Implementing new technologies and ways of working could be the answer to both provide the industry with the skills or knowledge needed, while encouraging more young talent to consider roles in manufacturing, lumber, distribution and retail. For example, 41 per cent of businesses are implementing some form of robot technology, because they can automate mundane work (54 per cent), free up people to work on more creative tasks (40 per cent), and can optimize processes faster and more effectively than humans (34 per cent).

Many employees are aware of the benefits of automation, because they already have first-hand experience of robot workmates. A third (31 per cent) says AI, robots, and highly automated machinery, are now a common feature of their day-to-day work, and only 32 per cent says they are not part of their workforce at all.

Those that work in finance, and those that work in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region may be more up for working with robot co-workers than anyone else—47 per cent of respondents in APAC agree robots are more efficient than humans (compared to 29 per cent in Europe and Middle East) and 33 per cent of those who work in finance agree robots can take stressful tasks away from humans (compared to 23 per cent in IT and 20 per cent of CEOs).  

Technology attracts new recruits

Forty-one per cent also agreed that young people want the opportunity to work with the latest innovations, so implementing new technology can bring real recruitment benefits as well as business efficiencies for industrial firms. Twenty per cent said the chance to work with robotics and AI is a big draw for young talent, and 33 per cent of millennials want the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of new developments.

Modern enterprise resource planning platform unleashes innovation and growth

In order to make the most of the latest innovations in workplace robotics and AI, businesses need to have the right infrastructure in place—one that fits their business and industry. Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions like Epicor ERP can be crucial to coordinating robot workflows and sharing data between machines and humans across multiple digital platforms.

Indeed, around a fifth (19 per cent) of businesses questioned in the Epicor study said they rely on a single core business system to manage everything.

Terri Hiskey, vice president, product marketing, manufacturing, at Epicor said: “The study shows us that the use of robots is a very real, but also very welcome way of solving an otherwise worrying industry-wide knowledge and skills gap.”

‘With employers struggling to find candidates with the right skills or knowledge for entry-level roles, and with employees struggling to keep up with the pressures of business growth, automating aspects of the workforce offers a new way of building efficiencies into the supply chain, and enabling digital transformation. However, businesses need the right infrastructure at their heart if they are to manage data flows effectively and to make the most of robotics and AI. This is where ERP and the cloud come into their own.

“Far from workers worrying about their jobs being taken by robots, our study shows that employees are actually very happy to work alongside machines. With all the advantages of robots not getting involved in office politics too, we can expect to see more of this in the future!” concluded Hiskey. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: ERP | Epicor | talent | Skills gap | Ai | robots |

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