Automation Is Essential To Post-Pandemic Survival

There’s no sidestepping the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered our way of life. Disruption to businesses, industry, and supply chains has been especially pronounced, and many entities have been forced to turn their operations on their heads in a bid to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. Some have had to shift their gameplans, making a transition away from certain suppliers or trimming the fat from existing initiatives in order to survive. Others have been heading back to the drawing board, looking for ways to pivot their business models so that they can at least stay afloat. In almost all cases, however, the way forward is going to be determined by how businesses can leverage future technologies—like automation.

Just how will this technology become indispensable in the post-pandemic world? Think about how COVID has revealed flaws in the training of employees and brought to light the ever-present skills gap in certain industries? The current workforce doesn’t always have the skills that align with what industries—like manufacturing—require to get the job done. Even before the pandemic became an issue, the skills gap was a coming trend of serious concern:

“The skills that employers value and rely upon are changing. In turn, a “skills gap” has developed in which employers struggle to hire appropriately trained workers…The skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion.”

In an effort to combat this issue moving forward, the implementation of technologies like “cobots” may be useful. Also known as “collaborative robots” or “co-robots,” these are machines that, instead of displacing human workers, toil alongside them as an assistant or guide. They aren’t what we’d consider completely autonomous, as they are programmed and built to respond to the actions and instructions of their human counterparts.

Again, instead of replacing human jobs, the cobot, in a post-pandemic world, should serve to help ease repetitive tasks and aid humans to focus on the more “high-level” and “cerebral” job functions. As a result, businesses should be able to keep up productivity in spite of what may be a limited supply of skilled workers as the world continues to recover from COVID.

Another area where AI and automation technologies will be valuable to businesses in the post-pandemic world is in the implementation of on-demand manufacturing. With supply chains disrupted and certain resources scarce, a move away from producing massive quantities is going to benefit a good number of businesses in the post-pandemic climate.

On-demand manufacturing allows businesses to produce what they need when they need, which in turn comes with a host of benefits. Using the flexibility of cloud-based technology, AI, and online services, businesses can now provide a new level of agility to their products and services, delivering exactly what customers need at exactly the time they need it.

Long-term, there may be even more opportunities for automation, AI, and additional technologies to make their mark in the post-pandemic world. For businesses, adopting these technologies and implementing them into their strategies may make the difference between survival and failure.