Friday 20th Oct 2017 - Logistics Manager

Robotics is becoming critical to logistics

One in five business leaders in transport and distribution expect automation to have a high impact with more than 30 per cent of jobs automatable, according to a report from the Royal Society of Arts.

That’s puts our industry at the top end of the range – across all industries 13 per cent of business leaders expect automation to have a high impact.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

The study, The Age of Automation: Artificial intelligence, robotics and the future of low-skilled work, argues that deployment of AI and robotics could help the UK forge a path towards a better world of work.

“New technologies could phase out mundane jobs, raise productivity levels, open up the door to higher wages, and allow workers to concentrate on more human-centric roles that are beyond the technical reach of machines. This is just as true for low-skilled workers as it is for high-skilled ones,” it says.

The survey of 1,111 business leaders found that the share of employers who think a high level of jobs in their organisation will be automatable in the next ten years ranged from less than five per cent in medicine to almost 25 per cent in finance and accounting. Transport and distribution, at 21 per cent, was the second highest sector closely followed by manufacturing. Retail, at 15 per cent, was also above the average.

Large organisations are the driving force behind robotics and automation – the RSA survey found that almost 30 per cent across all industries counted themselves as active adopters and another 30 per cent as slow adopters, twice the adoption rate of medium sized companies and four times the rate of small companies.

And the report goes on to argue that If the UK is to have a higher performing, higher paid labour market, then businesses and public services will need to ramp up their investment in AI and robotics.

“Particular attention should be paid to raising awareness of new technology among smaller organisations, most of whom lack the resources to investigate how AI and robotics might benefit them.”

It’s all too obvious from the RSA research that there is a big opportunity for logistics operations to benefit by embracing automation, robotics and artificial intelligence – but there is a long way to go.

You can learn more about these technologies and how they can benefit logistics operations at the Robotics and Automation Exhibition which takes place in Milton Keynes on 11th and 12 October. I’ll be there and I hope you will be too.