Marlin Steel’s Drew Greenblatt was quoted today in the New York Times in an article about automation and job growth that countered perceptions in a “60 Minutes” segment earlier this month.
In December, we won a job from a Chicago company that for over a decade has bought from China,” [Greenblatt] said. “It’s a sheet-metal bracket; 160,000 sheet-metal brackets, year in, year out. They were made in China, now they’re made in Baltimore, using steel from a plant in Indiana and the robot was made in Connecticut.”
In the article, a representative from the Frankfurt-based International Federation of Robotics appeared puzzled that a stale argument over whether robots hurt jobs had resurfaced in the United States. In Europe and Japan, manufacturers, workers and policy makers aren’t so distracted by an antique debate, he indicated. The federation announced that it plans to issue a report next month describing how the robotics industry directly and indirectly will create 1.9 million to 3.5 million jobs globally by 2020.
Drew also framed the argument in a way that any red-blooded, purple-wearing football fan in Marlin’s hometown of Baltimore could appreciate:
My robots are going to work during the Super Bowl, he said. “Do you know how popular I would be to ask my employees to work during the Super Bowl?
From Drew Greenblatt’s latest column in Inc. magazine on the connection between automation and job creation:
… A dozen robots on our shop floor form steel wire baskets at the rate of 20,000 bends an hour, or about five per second. The precision is light years beyond what we were capable of before, with tolerances measured to the thousandths of an inch. That craftsmanship allowed us to expand beyond bagel baskets into industrial containers for sensitive material for clients in automotive, aerospace, military, and health care. And with robots tacking the most brutish work, our employees’ well being has dramatically improved as well: Our last lost-time accident occurred during the Bush administration, more than 1,500 days ago. (And workers now get health insurance.)
That doesn’t mean we don’t need people. The argument by some, including on a recent “60 Minutes” segment, that robots rob jobs is overly simplistic. It echoes the old adage that generals are always prepared to fight the last war–to use old tactics to win new battles. Without robots our company would be out of business. Here are six ways robots have created jobs at Marlin Steel Wire Products … Read more
CBS’ “60 Minutes” : March of the Machines
The bias in CBS’ “60 Minutes” segment on robots Sunday night was evident from the opening illustration of robot fingers shredding a “HELP WANTED” sign, in case you wondered if there were two sides. Steve Kroft’s piece portrayed the false notion that without automation, all those robots performing tedious tasks around the clock would be replaced by American workers. As the piece noted, the robots are more apt to threaten the low-wage, repetitive-type jobs that built China into an industrial power. The choice for the future of American manufacturing isn’t no robots = more jobs. It’s more like more robots = more opportunities to win orders which will create more USA jobs. The brighter future involves embracing automation with workers given opportunities to operate and interface with robots. Continue reading