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featureed image Published 2021-08-05, by Kellie Auman

Automation: Improving the Human Element in Industrial Operations

Forbes recently posted an insightful article addressing fears surrounding digital transformation initiatives and other next-gen technical upgrades. As is commonplace with new technology, some worry that new technologies will displace workers, or lead to their "alienation" as they lose human contact in favor of working with robots. 

This simply isn't the case.  There are numerous ways that Industry 4.0 technologies can improve the lives of workers, and generally in ways that we've already seen happening in businesses around the world.  Does anyone lament the changeover from paper processes to electronic filing?  Does anyone miss the days that massive databases had to be populated entirely by hand?  Of course not.  Automating routine office tasks has simply freed up workers to do better and more useful things than pushing paper. 

To a large extent, digitalization simply takes these concepts and pushes them further, looking for more and more ways to streamline and improve workers' experience by automating routine, tedious, or dangerous tasks.  At the same time, it allows for greater freedom and creativity among the workforce. 

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Four Ways Digitalization Makes Life Better For Workers 

1. Eliminating the boring grind 

A happy worker is a productive worker, and it's hard to be happy when most of your day is spent doing menial repetitive tasks.  Those are exactly the sort of tasks that computers excel at, since they never get bored or distracted.  Offloading such work onto AIs and robots means that your human workforce can focus on creative, technical, or 'big picture' endeavors which people are much better suited for. 

2. Improved worker safety 

Many jobs in industry are inherently dangerous, particularly when they revolve around working with heavy machinery.  AI oversight can monitor machines remotely, eliminating the need for most routine oversight and maintenance. Times that people need to work directly with these machines can be reduced, improving overall health and safety. 

The same is even true of more mundane tasks, such as working in a warehouse.  Robots can take over a large number of dangerous jobs, protecting your workers and allowing them to focus on safer work. 

3. Enabling smoother global operations 

Sometimes you need to send people overseas to directly observe foreign offices or factories - but this can be a serious drag on people's bodily and mental health.  Taking numerous long plane trips can quickly wear down a manager, particularly when issues such as jet lag and local disease vulnerability are factored in.  As more operations embrace Industry 4.0 remote monitoring technologies, they'll be increasingly able to oversee foreign investments from home, without the need to be there in person. 

4. Accelerating creativity and collaboration 

Technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are opening up entirely new ways for your workforce to work together creatively.  Projects can now be designed in virtual space, with as many participants as needed, and without regard for space or materials.  Collaborative platforms are likewise enabling quality communications across every area of a business ecosystem, bringing people together to work towards creating better products and services.   

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