Do we need Lean when the robots arrive?

Robotization has come to stay, and technological development has accelerated. From previously being focused on robotization / automation of industrial processes (eg welding, varnishing, lifting, assembly, process control), we now also see that office employees get a feel for this through automated work tasks on the PC.

If many of our tasks can be robotized so that they are not performed by humans and thus do not cost much to perform, then what’s the point of Lean? Does it make sense to streamline a process that costs nothing and is already going very fast?

At the bottom of this article are two images, where we have mapped a workflow by analyzing the value stream of the actual work process. Afterwards, we worked out a new diagram where we tried to find out how the value stream should be.

If these two diagrams represent a workflow to be robotized / automated: Which of these two workflows do you think are:

  • Cheapest and easiest to robotize in the first place?

  • Easiest to troubleshoot and correct?

  • Easiest to change when needs change?

  • Easiest to conduct training / information about?

So, the question is perhaps rather: Is your company Lean enough to keep up with the robotization wave?

 

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