Robots have been making inroads on the factory floor, but humans still perform 72% of manufacturing tasks, according to a new study from global management consulting company A.T. Kearney and Bay Area-based A.I. startup Drishti.
Some 1.7 million robots work alongside the world’s 345 million factory workers, according to estimates from the International Federation of Robotics and Goldman Sachs. Yet the ways in which they interact – or don’t – show the challenges of that arrangement. The Drishti-A.T. Kearney study, for example, found that senior-level engineers spent more than one-third of their working hours manually gathering data about worker productivity and that humans continue to perform the majority of critical manufacturing tasks.
“There isn’t a systematic process for gathering statistics. I can tell you that it’s a pervasive problem in manufacturing based on the numerous meetings I have had with executives in manufacturing,” said Prasad Akella, Drishti’s founder and chief executive. “Just about every company I talk to encounters the same lack of visibility into tasks performed by human workers.”