It’s make or break for UK automation warns FANUC UK chief
10 Dec 2019
The UK is the only G7 country that has an industrial robot density below the world average – a fact that highlights the challenge the country will have in competing with Europe and the rest of the globe.
The warning comes from FANUC UK managing director Tom Bouchier, who says a failure to automate will leave British productivity lagging far behind its competitors.
He commented: “One of the arguments against automation is that it is too expensive, a belief especially pervasive amongst those that need it most – SMEs.
"But when you consider that we are around 30% less productive per hour than a German manufacturer, then the financial impact of not automating is clearly far greater.
“This misconception is underpinned by a lack of awareness surrounding automation. Features such as the ‘I am not a robot’ button on websites are indicative of the general mistrust of automation, and UK manufacturers need to work to overcome this mindset in order to boost productivity.”
When you consider that we are around 30% less productive per hour than a German manufacturer, then the financial impact of not automating is clearly far greater
Tom Bouchier, managing director, FANUC UK
A key gain from automation was the opportunity it offered to upskill and train staff, said Bouchier. Industry observers have long warned that the growing shortage of labour and potential recruits to manufacturing and engineering jobs is accompanied by a lack of those with sufficient technical abilities.
Bouchier said the presumption that automation always threatened jobs should be reconsidered.
“By being open about the value that it provides, British manufacturing can secure its own future, and help British businesses to compete on a world stage. Failure to automate is a failure to increase productivity, which ultimately poses a much more real threat to UK businesses.”