Robotics Are All The Rage In Manufacturing, To Be Discussed At Arkansas Summit

Apr 27, 2015

Panelists on this week's Talk Business & Politics.

With the Arkansas Manufacturing Innovation Summit only days away, a quarterly industry report by PriceWaterHouse (PWC) showed that manufacturing executives are optimistic about the future despite recent challenges that have maligned the sector once viewed as the pillar of the U.S. economy.

The reason for that optimism will be highlighted at the two-day Arkansas summit (April 29-30) where keynote speakers, panels and manufacturing executives will discuss innovations and technologies that can help grow revenue and jobs, increase productivity, improve quality and add to the bottom line – including robotics.

The 31-page PWC report, which surveyed senior executives of U.S.-based industrial manufacturers with employee workforces of nearly 9,000 and annual revenues topping $3 billion, had these interesting notes concerning the future of robotics.

  • Overall, there is a moderately strong evolving market for robotics systems among Manufacturing Barometer panelists. Currently, 48% are either heavily involved (17%) or moderately involved (31%). Overall, 44% believe it is at least moderately important to their company’s business and profit growth over the next two to three years.
  • Planned acquisition of robotics systems over the next two to three years was cited by a maximum of 58% – with nearly one-third (31%) planning to acquire a moderate amount (25%) or many more robotics systems (only 6%). A larger number plan to acquire a limited number of robotics systems (27%).
  • On the barriers side, 69% that price and return on investment for robotics systems must be notably reduced before they can consider more installations (49% strongly agree). In contrast, only 44% agree that quality of robotics must be improved before they can consider more installations (but only 13% strongly). Price and ROI (return on investment) appear as the chief barrier to robotics systems growth in the industrial manufacturing market.

“Interestingly, the panelists agree that robotics will both create new job opportunities and replace workers and reduce their overall workforce,” the PWC quarterly report said. To view the 31-page report, click here.

Dovetailing nicely into this report and the upcoming Arkansas manufacturing summit is the Maker Faire in downtown North Little Rock, scheduled for May 2. All of this activity and the focus it brings to entrepreneurship in Arkansas was the subject of a roundtable conversation on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics which can be heard Monday on KUAR at 6:06 p.m.