reichelt elektronik, in association with OnePoll, surveyed 250 UK business decision makers on automation in their companies. More than a third already use bots for various roles and 37% expect to purchase new technology that will increase automation within the next 12 months.
Increasing productivity (40%) and reducing errors (36%) were the major reasons key decision makers gave for why they wanted to implement more automation in the workforce. Businesses have long realised that automation can reduce time human employees spend on repetitive tasks, and the falling cost of the technology required means fewer barriers to entry.
62% of businesses now using robots or automation are doing so primarily to protect their employees from physically dangerous tasks and keep their human employees safe. However, respondents did voice concerns over bringing more automation into the workforce.
39% say they are concerned with their compatibility with existing systems in the company and 33% believe the maintenance and acquisition costs could outweigh the benefits from the new machine workers. This is the case even though 47% of businesses using robots or automation say they are doing so to help better educate or retrain their workforces.
Buying the bots
When it comes to automation, businesses are putting their money where their mouth is, with dedicated budgets for robotic workers in 2020. Almost 3 in 4 respondents say automation is accounted for in their budget, with 25% saying this figure is between £50,000 and £100,000. When it came to preference of where to buy the necessary technology, 45% said they would prefer to buy from the manufacturer and 33% from distributors. Technical support and advice is a priority for buyers (48%) with implementation with existing systems coming a close second (45%). The research from reichelt demonstrates a clear demand for automation in industry and therefore the need for distributors also providing complementary equipment and spare parts necessarily to ensure these new technologies are properly integrated.
Tobias Thelemann, Product Manager at reichelt elektronik, comments “With automation and robotic workers, businesses can see tasks completed quickly and efficiently. Despite some challenges, we are convinced that the trend towards more automation through the use of robots and similar technologies will continue in 2020 as well. The market is developing rapidly and there are more and more solutions that are also affordable for medium-sized companies”