Posts Tagged ‘Robotics’

The Time For Robotics In Small Businesses Is Now

April 3, 2018

Smart small business leaders are already arming themselves with the knowledge and tools to make robotics work in even the smallest enterprise.

Today, smaller companies in the manufacturing, assembly and distribution areas are reaping savings possible through robotic applications.

In other sectors including hospitality, restaurants, service centers, etc. businesses are employing units for many repetitive interaction with the public and their clients.  Given time, these and many other sectors will see broader categories of robotic units customized for individual company needs.

Supplier entrepreneurs are taking their experiences with the internet to quickly make robotic applications that are easily customizable, which hastens the adoption rate. That appears to be the goal of more and more start-ups today.

Rather than seek to totally replace workers in all of their tasks, many of these far-seeing entrepreneurs believe adding a few robots at a time can make the small business workplace better for customers and employees.  In this scenario, everyone wins when even the smallest company embraces robotic enhancements to the workplace.

Here are a few main areas where robotics at today’s standards can help a small business:

  1. Menial repetitive tasks can be off-loaded to robotic machines; reduced worker involvement in these tasks can contribute to higher profits.
  2. Workplace safety (tasks that are hazardous) is often greater with robotic elements, according to recent studies; safer employees are often happier and more productive.
  3. High tolerance, precision fitting are often done by robots with fewer errors; improving quality and output.

Additional benefits:

  1. Displaced workers can be re-assigned to tasks critical to company success, such as customer service; rewards for higher valued work contribution, may mean more money in worker pockets.
  2. Embracing innovations that prioritize your people will strengthen your company culture. Improved worker appreciation means higher workplace morale.

The time to begin looking at robotic help in your company is now.  If not, your competitor may beat you to it and benefit.

 

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Robotics for Small Business

February 26, 2011

Microsoft thinks Robotics will be a large part of its revenue stream by the end of this decade.

The federal government is spending billions of dollars encouraging Robotics research.

In healthcare, the auto industry, manufacturing and a host of other sectors are investing billions more in Robotics.

How will robotics affect your small business?

Not at all?
Robotics will make your business more competitive?
Robotics will put you out of business?

As Chairman of The National Robotics Education Foundation* I think about robots and robotics a lot, almost as often as small business. Today, I want to look at the cross-section of the two.

Robotics has been used in business to make things faster, more consistently and less expensive. For an example, think of early robotic applications in auto manufacturing where robots performed repetitive, precise activities.

Recent robotic advances include: a robot that picks and sizes strawberries for shipment; a robot that is a companion for Alzheimer patients; a robot for washing hair; a robot to practice birthing babies; and the list goes on.

These robots can be used by small businesses: a small strawberry farm run by aging farmers who a have trouble bending over; a small home health care business that allows Alzheimer patients remain in their own homes longer; a small beauty salon whose beauticians prefer hair cutting, coloring and styling to washing customers’ heads; and a small OB/GYN medical practice that is better trained and has lower insurance rates.

Robotics will be a part of all of our futures. The question is will you embrace the evolving capabilities and applications of robots/robotics? Or will you reject, perhaps out of fear of replacement?

While robots will continue to make things faster, more consistently and less expensive the application are becoming more sophisticated and intelligent. For instance, recently on Jeopardy Watson (an IBM creation) took on and beat two of Jeopardy’s greatest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

But, robots have limitations and the primary area is leadership. That will remain the domain of the business leader.

Part of leadership is interacting with your employees, customers, suppliers and others. There is no substitute for person-to-person contact. So you will not be replaced.

Therefore, start thinking today about ways to embrace robotics in your small business to be more competitive.

* The National Robotics Education Foundation (www.The-NREF.org) is a 501(c)(3). We work with educators in K-20 to incorporate robotic education into the curriculum to enhance learning and prepare our students for tomorrow. These robotically educated students (be they creators, engineers, or service maintenance) maybe your children, and/or your future employees or competitors.