How to successfully deploy robotics within an organization

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Companies that are struggling with labor shortages or entering the next phase of their digital transformation are looking for more automated robotic solutions than ever before. The Association for Advanced Automation (A3) found that the number of robots sold in 2021 increased by 28% from 2020, making last year the strongest year ever for robot sales.

Many decision makers will be disappointed when they realize that after their initial investment, adopting robots into their workforce will not keep pace with their expectations.

These challenges are similar to the problems that companies face when implementing complex enterprise technology solutions such as Salesforce, SAP or Workday.

The solution to these challenges is the same. Successful robot adoption programs must be informed by the principles of change management that are typically applied when implementing complex enterprise technology solutions. The company has several key ways to successfully adopt, integrate and scale robotic solutions.

Define the cost of the program

In addition to the clear goal of ROI, there are many parameters of value. As a robotics company, it is important to discuss the following with customers: increasing the consistency of results, proof of results with data, cost of investment vs. Promote the use, experience of guests or residents or employees and image that is consistent with their brand.

The key is to define these objectives so that they become lenses that represent the value of the program. There are different people in the ecosystem who will have different values ​​or who will prioritize values ​​differently. Taking this into account will inform how success is communicated and communicated.

Evaluate the environment to prepare for change

It is also important to understand the physical environment before any new technology is introduced. Identify who will operate the robots, who will operate the operators, and who will take care to see evidence that the program is succeeding and providing value. This is important for successful implementation. If the organization has previous experience with robots and data and analytics, take the “temperature” for a change and try to figure out where the lawyers will come from and who the blockers may be.

Plan a change of task

Consider the current state of affairs as it works today. View time window for activities, days of the week, how work is scheduled and other priorities in operation. This is necessary because the goal is to change the work. That means the new schedule and work priorities will be different than today. For example, today the operation group can only do certain activities a few hours a week. But in future situations, the robot will allow new priorities to be set, which can then allow more time for multiple activities.

This is possible because the robot transforms activity from a 1: 1 relationship into many: many relationships. In a 1: 1 relationship, activity and human are interconnected so only one activity can be done by that person at that time. Activity priority is the same. The robot program can enable a ‘many: many’ relationship where many humans can operate multiple robots at once (hence the term ‘collaborative robotics’). In this case, the labor can be optimized based on the value of the activity.

Tailor training

Understand the learning styles of the people who are being trained. It is important to translate the complex robotics jargon literally which will make sense to those who operate the robots directly. Identify the communication methods they will use daily and weekly to get information about the program and if there are language preferences.

For example, we find that short videos that can be texted over the phone are becoming increasingly effective in achieving the desired results. Reading directions can be a barrier to learning, so we are choosing language-agnostic content in some situations. Be flexible, as most institutions will require multiple training methods to accommodate different teaching styles.

Measure and answer

Constant feedback is essential to ensure that the adoption of the program is successful in the transition to the production phase. We know that people often have a weak link In a robotic program and without accurate data and reporting that shows things are on track or off, there is always the risk of a sudden failure for successful programs.

Also, organizations often make the mistake of assuming that once they have invested in training, they have successfully adopted tech. But training is not something to be adopted – it’s just a step in the overall program. And since people are constantly coming in and out of institutions, training should also keep pace. Hence, why reporting and analytics are needed to get ahead of program risk before performance derails.

Constant communication

Leadership support takes many forms, including the importance of the program to the managing team and their role in reviewing the data on who is going off course and who is knocking them out of the park. Good data and analytics do not waste leadership time and are designed for management by exception, so problems are clearly identified and further action can be taken.

The successful adoption of robotic solutions will determine how much value is created for everyone in the ecosystem.

KG Wood-Maris is the head of customer experience at Softbank Robotics America,


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