Perspective: Bringing back human workers bucks manufacturing trends

By Paul Ryznar, for Forbes

Mar 26, 2018

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When one thinks of the evolution of manufacturing, it's often done through the lens of outdated stereotypes: a gritty factory floor that's transformed into a highly automated environment, complete with a supply line where human workers have been replaced by sophisticated robots.

Lately, a very different trend has begun to manifest itself, with precisely the opposite results: manufacturers have begun replacing robots with humans. This is not driven by nostalgia or from a desire to provide more manufacturing jobs -- it is simple, practical self-interest on the part of manufacturers.

Iconic global brands like Mercedes-Benz have taken significant steps in this direction, replacing some large manufacturing robots with human operators. As Markus Schaefer, head of production at Mercedes-Benz's parent company Daimler, noted in an interview with Bloomberg (via MIT Technology Review), the move by the luxury car maker was strictly a business decision, driven by some very practical considerations: “Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today. We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.”

Read the full story.

 

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