Anyone who was trying to ignore the technological revolution, can try no more. It’s futile. As the news filtered in that ‘the’ gadget of the past few years, the iPhone, is to be manufactured by robots (part of it anyway), I could almost hear the small corner of IT-resisting traditionalists throwing down their weapons and reluctantly wandering across to the other side, the war is over and the battle is won.
There is a serious side to the story of a million robots replacing human workers, who are carrying out mundane and monotonous tasks in the iPhone factory in China’s Pearl river delta, of course. HR should take note. It's a huge step for the technological world, indicating that companies of this size are looking to drive efficiency and bring down costs through the introduction of intelligent and sophisticated technology, and the fact that this move in China has received such press, is not just because of the iPhone connection.
It is also because, rather bravely, a member of the China Labour Bulletin (an organisation supporting the plight of Chinese workers) has claimed that this could in fact be a positive move for staff, who will finally be able to divorce themselves from the thankless tasks and actually up-skill and work on projects that use a bit more of their ability as a human being.
And it’s an interesting point that I’ll certainly be bringing into accessplanit, because all too often in the HR world there is scepticism about advertising the fact that investing in new technology means that staff numbers will be cut, but that never has to be the case.
In fact, and I think it’s more than just a positive spin, the Chinese official is right, it can be the golden opportunity than individuals have been looking for to up-skill, actually relinquish the boring jobs and replace them with something that requires a level of intelligence and input that, perhaps, only humans can offer. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out, and, perhaps more importantly, how many employees find the positives associated with efficiency drives through automation.
I joined accessplanit in 2007 as Sales and Marketing Manager and have overseen the rapid expansion of UK sales. In 2009, I invested in the business in to become Commercial Director, and now have responsibility for Sales, Marketing and Support teams.