Labor shortage leading to worker robots? How companies test them

Many employers are increasingly concerned about the labor shortage, as there are more job opportunities than unemployed people.

In a New York Times editorialDavid Autor, economics professor at MIT, wrote that “the United States does not have a problem with the quantity of jobs; on the contrary, they have a problem of job quality ”.

Some unemployed Americans are looking for work, but not in a rush. They cite COVID fears, care responsibilities and a financial cushion among the reasons not to join the workforce. Autor noted that “our economy has generated a large number of low-paid and economically precarious jobs with little prospect of career advancement.”

Unemployment payments are believed to have slowed hiring in industries like restaurants, retailers and hospitality.

A minor solution to the labor shortage may soon arrive.

“Labor shortages will start to ease in September and this fall, but it won’t be an immediate fix,” economist Dante DeAntonio of Moody’s Analytics told USA Today. “It could well unfold over two, three years.”

What happens to the labor market so far?

A recent CNN report gave insight into how the labor shortage has led a Dallas restaurant to hire robots for $ 15 a day.

Espartaco Borga, the owner of La Duni Latin Cafe, told CNN that he had struggled to find busboys and other employees to fill the positions, as businesses began to reopen after the pandemic.

“All of a sudden we had 50 to 100% more business than we had, even before COVID, with a third of the staff. So everyone was overwhelmed, overworked and frustrated, both the customers and staff, ”Borga said.

“The only part that didn’t come back were the employees.”

Borga reached out to American Robotech, a robotics company specializing in autonomous contactless delivery to explore his options.

“The next day they showed up, they mapped out the restaurant and they assigned the table numbers within 45 minutes,” he said.

“After a day, the girl in the show line was in love with it because her arm didn’t hurt after wearing 60 trays in one day.”

American Robotech explains on its website that its robots are created to increase the efficiency of rotation in restaurants.

American Robotech’s website provides a profile of its HolaBot, which reads: “Holabot is a multi-scenario collection robot that innovatively applies an autonomous robot to the areas of food, office, hospitality. industry and others. Equipped with large volume, high load capacity, pager function, gesture recognition and voice control module, HolaBot can increase the efficiency of treatment in restaurants.

Borga explained that the robots don’t take anyone’s work because no one wants to work. “No one wants to work in the hospitality industry right now,” he said.

Borga said the costs saved by robot employees will help him pay more for his human employees to do less work.

“They don’t even see them for what they are, which is a tablet on wheels,” he said. “They see them as part of the service experience because these bots have a personality, they can interact. If you touch them, they laugh and they tell you things.”

Robots work to make things easier for the client and the server. The robots help the waiters greet customers, bring food to the table and sing “Happy Birthday”.

Robotics to fill the labor shortage goes beyond restaurants. Amazon grabbed attention in June with warehouses to present robots called “Ernie” and “Bert”. In May, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Tennessee-based logistics services company that was using autonomous robotics to help fill online orders and even looked at autonomous tractors to tow carts with pallets. .

There are a number of companies that offer robot rental services. In August, Reuters compiled a list that included Locus Robotics, Path Robotics, Rapid Robotics, Fetch Robotics, Vicarious and Formic Technologies.

Reuters cited how Westec Plastics, a small, California-based plastic molding plant, leased three robots from Rapid Robotics at a cost of up to $ 3,750 per month per robot.

About James Almanza

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