A complete automation overhaul of the workforce is no longer a pipedream. It is the future of the workforce. Covid-19 not only accelerated technological adoption, it also served as a catalyst for companies to finally see the necessity of integrating automation into the work process. As employees in the Asia Pacific are increasingly choosing to work from home, many companies have started to use technological solutions to drive greater efficiency and productivity. Workplace automation tools are becoming increasingly accessible to businesses in the ASEAN region as well to improve their workforces.
According to a report by Deloitte, commissioned by Autodesk Foundation, Singapore is the country least at risk from automation, ranking second for preparedness, behind Australia, and ahead of Japan. Some of the key factors cited for this level of preparedness include heavy investments in education, assist at-risk workers, and support workers’ transition to new roles and industries.
The benefits of automation are numerous. With it, companies can off-load jobs that are dangerous, dull or dirty, and focus on more productive and higher-value work. For example, the use of robots can reduce common manufacturing injuries by up to 72 percent. By leveraging automation intelligently across major industries such as construction, logistics, and transport, productivity can be boosted, hence generating significant economic benefits.
Workforce Automation in APAC
Some of the most common automation technologies used in most organisations in APAC include Robotic Process Automation, virtual assistants, and collaborative robots (cobots) — APAC is home to 64 percent of the world’s industrial robots.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is also enabling organisations to make better data-driven decisions in their productivity. This includes AI-based machine learning algorithms being applied to smart machines in manufacturing plants, smart robotics in logistics, and cloud-based data analytics solutions. Revenue from AI platforms has been forecasted to grow twice as fast in APAC compared to the world between 2019 and 2024.
Automation can also help the world solve an increasingly troublesome problem that has been growing as of late; that of an ever increasing skills shortage. For years now, there has been a downward trend in population growth rates, particularly in more developed countries. As such, it is predicted that the the future workforce and talent pool is expected to be much smaller. Businesses are already facing such problems today as there are simply not enough talent to meet demand for new technology.
Workplace automation not only helps reduce this talent shortage but also requires less technical skills in handling them as most of the processes will be automated. Companies will be able to spend more time reskilling their existing workforce to deal with more important tasks.