News

Is your business ‘keeping up with the Joneses’?

Oct 25, 2016

There is no doubt that New Zealand business leaders face a number of challenges as they compete in their respective markets. Whether it is skill shortages, economic pressures or regulatory red tape, it’s easy to blame external factors for enterprise struggles.

However, it is the mark of a strong and progressive senior management team to find solutions in these situations. In many cases, the answer is already out there – perhaps in the same industry overseas. This is certainly the case in manufacturing, with automated production a mainstay across the Asian region, but yet to make a huge mark in countries such as New Zealand.

While every enterprise wants to be different, this is one case where it might pay to take a look at what is happening over the fence.

Asian robotic uptake

There will be more than 1.4 million new industrial robots in factories around the world by 2019.

According to statistics from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), there will be more than 1.4 million new industrial robots in factories around the world by 2019. Of course, it should come as no surprise that China, South Korea, and Japan are leading the way in this field.

In China alone, there were 68,600 robotic units sold in 2015, an increase of 20 per cent compared to the year before. This is predicted to grow another 30 per cent every year until 2019 as the country aims for Made in China 2025″ – meaning it would be the top technological nation on the planet.

South Korea’s sales grew a massive 55 per cent in 2015, with Japan not far behind on 20 per cent. Both nations expect increases of around 5 per cent a year moving forward.

These Asian countries have an appetite for robot density in manufacturing and as production becomes more automated, it will have a major impact on labour demand.

Improving productivity standards

China has turned to robotics to fill the employment gaps.

What New Zealand manufacturers could learn from their Asian counterparts is that higher robotic density means less reliance on cheap labour. This is often the only option to produce quantities of product to compete in the market. However, with an ageing population, China has turned to robotics to fill the employment gaps, as reported by CBS News in a July 2016 article.

“It’s becoming harder and harder to recruit workers and to keep them. This work is intense and tiring, so we have to pay people more and more to lure them and keep them,” Chen Conghan, deputy manager of a manufacturing company explained to the news outlet.

This is the same problem that is emerging in New Zealand – fewer able-bodied and skilled individuals to complete the required work. So, is it time to follow these Asian nations?

For more information about production automation and robotics, get in touch with the team at Design Energy today.

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