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Impact of the Robotics Revolution

In July 2016 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published their research findings in a paper that demonstrates that the real robotics revolution is set to begin. For many manufacturers, an attractive return on investment is possible for the first time. BCG predicts that growth in installed robotic systems will explode from the current 2 – 3 % annually to around 10% annually in the next decade. In some industries, already more than 40% of tasks are being performed by robots. Delivering gains in quality with reduced production time and cost, the robotics revolution is set to affect the competitive landscape globally, with early adopters reaping significant benefits.

Improving Productivity

BCG estimates that, as a direct result of installed robotic systems, output per worker in manufacturing will increase anywhere from 10% to 30% by 2025.  They also predict that costs could be lower by 16% among the world’s 25 largest goods-exporting economies. Adoption will depend, says BCG, on two key considerations: cost-effectiveness and ease of automating tasks. Within industries, some tasks are automatable while others require human labor.

Robots in Industry

Currently, there are four industry groups, identified by BCG, that account for the majority of global robot use: computers and electronic products; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; transportation equipment; and machinery. By 2025, BCG predicts that these industry groups will account for more than 75% of robot installations globally. Within these industries, currently 85% of production tasks are automatable. As the costs continue to go down and performance continues to improve, according to BCG robots will most likely be adopted by another cluster of industry groups: plastics and rubber products; petroleum and coal products; and primary metals. By 2025, BCG predicts that robots will perform 10% to 20% of tasks within these industries.

Organizations need to prepare now for the robotics revolution, BCG recommends. The company warns that “manufacturers do not have the luxury of waiting to act” because “when the cost inflection point arrives, robotic installation rates are likely to accelerate rapidly.” Organizations have the opportunity now to create a substantial competitive advantage.

To access the BCG study click here.

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