Åsa Fast-Berglund Chalmers

To increase the interaction between man and machine, we must become better at communication

Publicerad: 31 August 2020

Why do we not see more people and robots working together?

Information and knowledge sharing is an important part for a company to function at the same time, it is one of the most complex parts of a leadership.

IT systems can to some extent help to streamline data and information management. Through large amounts of data and algorithms that calculate and extract information from the data, but for it to then become knowledge, people are still required. Much of the knowledge that exists in the industry today is so-called tacit knowledge, where people build up skills and knowledge through experience that they (at best) share with others.

I write at best, because this is exactly what is complex when talking about communication in an organization. Trust in the organization and its employees is an important part that is sometimes forgotten. Creating trust in an organization requires time, motivation and active work.

Time, trust and motivation are required to increase automation

This also applies to automation and digitization. There must be motivation to adopt new technology and confidence that technology can help; it is one of the most important parts when automation and digitization are implemented. If it costs more than it provides, it is difficult to motivate operators to invest their time and trust in the technology and also in the long run the organization.

Therefore, time and active work from all parts of the organization are required for an implementation to be successful.

Today, the number of implementations of industrial robots is increasing by just over 10 percent per year and Sweden is one of the leading countries in the world, with a fifth place and second in Europe after Germany. The proportion of collaborative applications is not increasing as fast; with an increase of just under 1 percent between 2017 and 2018 and just over 4 percent of the share of robot applications, we have a bit left.

I believe that a lot has to do with both trust in automation and the organization, at the same time as experience that (historical) automation implementations cost more than it provides.

If we are to increase automation, we need to devote time to our employees who will work with the solutions in the future; I believe that more mixed teams is beneficial for both the employee's and the organization's development.

I hope that more companies see the benefits of automation and digitization and dare, and have the energy to spend the time it takes to build trust, it will provide more than it costs in the long run!

Published 2020-08-31  |  Authored by Åsa Fast-Berglund