More and more products can be produced and assembled by robotic assembly lines. Even services, such as those offered by CPAs and stock brokers, can now be performed by software tools or applications such as TurboTax or e-Trade. Recently, I read an article that said that with the threat of a monumental rise in the minimum wages, many restaurants are planning to replace waiters/waitresses with ordering and payment kiosks at each table.
Moreover, franchises like McDonald’s are moving much of their preparation work out of the restaurant and into the factory where automation and robotics can be used more effectively. For example, french fries were once cut from real potatoes at the restaurant. Now they are cut at the factory and shipped in bags to the restaurant. Due to this type of automation, it takes about one half the number of employees to staff a McDonald’s today than it did just a few years ago.
With automation and robotic assembly, it is not as necessary to outsource manufacturing to countries like China in order to be competitive. This is slowing the growth of these countries and is bring manufacturing back to the United States. However, the manufacturing process today is far less labor-intensive than it was previously. For instance, Germany is one of the most expensive countries to do business in. Yet, Germany is the strongest nation in the European Union (EU) because of the use of robot/application arbitrage.
How will your industry fare based on the increased use of robotics and applications that are replacing the need for humans?
Can you take advantage of these trends and leapfrog your competition?
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