Robots and the new US manufacturing competitiveness

An article in the New York Times (August 18, 2012) describes a solar panel plant in San Francisco that uses a significant amount of robots and few people, a Philips plant in the Netherlands that uses 10 % of the labor as its plant in China with most of the work done by robots and a grocery distributor, C & C Wholesale Grocers, that uses robots to efficiently store and retrieve products. The question then is, if US manufacturing returns with a significant use of robots instead of labor, will that be an acceptable alternative even if it is the only competitive choice for companies ? Will the supplier base required to service all these robots and program them generate sufficient jobs to compensate for the smaller workforce at the plant ? Will the skills required for this new manufacturing be those that can be acquired by the displaced plant workforce or will it be done at a distance, at an efficient global location ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Global Contexts, Operations Management, Supply Chain Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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