Companies that are experiencing labour shortages or are embarking on the next phase of their digital transformation are more interested than ever in autonomous robotic solutions. According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the number of robots sold in 2021 increased by 28% over 2020, making it the best year for robot sales to date.
Many decision-makers will be dismayed to learn that, despite their early investment, the integration of robots into their workforce will likely fall short of their expectations.
These difficulties are comparable to those encountered by businesses when installing complicated corporate technology platforms like Salesforce, SAP, or Workday.
The solutions to both of these problems are also similar. The ideas of change management that are routinely used when adopting sophisticated corporate IT solutions must influence a successful robot adoption programme. There are a few critical steps that a company may take to successfully embrace, integrate, and grow robotic technologies.
Define the program’s worth.
Aside from the obvious aim of ROI, there are various dimensions of value. It’s critical for a robotics company to discuss the following with clients: Increased consistency of outcomes, data-backed proof of outcomes, cost of investment vs. consumption, guest or resident or employee experience, and establishing a brand-consistent image.
The idea is to identify these goals so that they may serve as the lens through which the program’s worth can be seen. Different people in the ecosystem will have various values or prioritise the values in different ways. Considering this will influence how success is documented and shared.
Examine the surroundings for readiness to change.
Before introducing any new technology, it’s also critical to understand the physical environment. Determine who will be in charge of the robots, who will supervise the operators, and who will be interested in seeing proof that the programme is successful and delivering on its promises. This is critical to the implementation’s success. Take the “temperature” for change and try to find out who will be supporters and who will be blockers if the company has prior experience with robotics, data, and analytics.
Make a plan to change your job.
Take a look at how work is done in today’s world. Examine the time range for executing activities, the number of days per week, how work is scheduled, and other operational priorities. Because the purpose is to transform work, this is critical. As a result, the new timetable and job priorities will change from what they are now. For example, today’s operations department may only be able to complete specific tasks for a few hours each week. However, in the future, the robot will be able to choose new priorities, allowing greater time for numerous tasks.
Because a robot shifts activities from a 1:1 relationship to a many: many relationships, this is conceivable. In a 1:1 relationship, the activity and the human are linked, and that person can only conduct one activity at a time. The action is commensurate with the importance. The robot software can enable ‘many: many’ interactions, in which many people can simultaneously manage many robots (thus the term ‘collaborative robotics’). Labour can be optimised depending on the value of the activity in this ideal state.
Customize your training.
Recognize the learning styles of those who will be trained. It’s critical to translate complicated robotics jargon into language that’ll make sense to the people in charge of the robots. Determine the channels of communication they will use on a daily and weekly basis to obtain programme information, as well as any language preferences.
We’ve discovered, for example, that short videos that may be texted to a phone are becoming increasingly effective in achieving desired outcomes. We chose language-agnostic content in some instances since reading directions can be a barrier to learning. Keep your options open, since most companies will require numerous training techniques to accommodate different learning types.
Assess and respond
Continuous input is critical to guaranteeing the program’s success as it moves from the adoption to the production phases. We all know that people are typically the weak link in a robotic programme, and without the correct data and reporting to show whether things are on track or not, successful projects can fall apart at any time.
Furthermore, firms frequently believe that once they’ve engaged in training once, they’ve successfully implemented the technology. However, training is not the same as adoption; it is merely a phase in the broader process. Training must also keep up with the steady influx of employees into and out of companies.
Communication is ongoing.
Leadership support can take many forms, such as conveying the importance of the programme to the management team and their involvement in examining the data to determine who is going off track and who is hitting it out of the park. Good data and analytics are developed for Management by Exception, so problems are clearly detected and actionable next actions may be performed.
The amount of value created for everyone in the ecosystem will be determined by how well robotic solutions are adopted.