A summary of the Information Week article, “Human-Robot Teams: The Next IT Management Challenge.”
Many operations teams – and depending on the size of the company – automation teams – continue to view robots as equipment or machines and need their IT counterparts to help them understand and embrace the value that comes with an integrated platform.
Talking with John Edwards of Information Week, Jim Lawton, our Vice President and General Manager, Robotics and Automation of Zebra Technologies offers some insight into the challenges this kind of collaboration brings and the role IT plays in making the most of the opportunity.
IT leaders bring immense value with expertise in designing user experiences for maximum impact. When the process is easy and fluid enough for people of various levels to be comfortable working with and around robots, there’s no question that the team will work together effectively.
Some highlights from the interview:
- Robots have become much more than a piece of hardware that performs production tasks, giving IT leaders an opportunity to advocate for the business value that these machines can deliver in manufacturing and warehousing.
- Advances in the software that control the robots can contribute to the collection of critical process and performance data, giving IT a critical role in the automation process.
- Working with their counterparts in operations early in the process to define how the robots will contribute to the workflows – well before vendors are invited in – is essential.
- Overcoming skepticism about the role of robots starts with making sure that the warehouse workers who will be working the robots are part of the strategy and execution of any automation project.
“Advanced systems orchestrate how the robot works with people and where it goes and when, all while collecting data that can be captured in data lakes. These innovations make IT’s involvement in the automation process critical.”
– Jim Lawton, Vice President and General Manager, Robotics and Automation of Zebra Technologies