Will robots impede Trump's promise to bolster manufacturing jobs?

Will robots impede Trump's promise to bolster manufacturing jobs?

Executive Grapevine
Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd


One of the fundamental policies fuelling Trump’s success was the promise to blue collar workers that he’d bring jobs in the manufacturing industry back.

However, there is every chance he will be blocked by an automated force.

As reported in TechCrunch, robotics have already moved into manufacturing in automotive, electrical and electronics industries, according to a new policy report from the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD).

In fact, automation has allowed many manufacturing jobs to be undertaken in the US, reducing the need for labour from Southeast Asia.  

However, automation has left workers in developing nations without employment, the report states, and the US will be faced with the same prospect.

And it’s not just funky startups replacing humans - Nike and Adidas have stopped using contractors and are embracing robotics and 3-D printing to make their shoes. Large farms have long employed robots in the field, and manufacturing jobs such as logistics and warehousing at Amazon and UPS are for the majority, carried out by robots.

UNCTAD’s report notes: “increased use of robots in developed countries erodes traditional labour-cost advantage of developing countries,” and is already having a global impact.

Not only are robots increasing productivity, but they are streamlining the difficulties with hiring staff across borders and dealing with costs of managing people, design, quality, safety, customs and logistics, regulatory compliance and intellectual property from afar.

‘Reshoring’ reduces both administrative and legal costs, as well as the cost of overheads.

Recently, we reported on a company in China who brought in robots to counteract labour costs. Read more here