100 . Exploratory Workshop on the Social Impacts of Robotics
of interest to add, however, that the above analytical framework can be dis- aggregate from plant level results to results within individual product lines or individual cost centers, and it can also be decomposed to trace the effects of changes among various components of material, labor or capital goods inputs.
Exploring Productivity and Cost Effects of Robotics and Programmable Automation
The preceding framework may now be used to trace the prospective effects of increased applications of robots and of broader systems of programmable automation.
Within the network of productivity relationships, the immediate impacts of introducing additional robots would tend to center around increases in fixed
investment and reductions in labor requirements per unit of output. where the utilization of machine capacity had been restricted by the
In cases sustainable
speed of labor efforts, processing operations,
output capabilities might be increased.
And in some
average quality of requirements would
output. tend to
Of course, part be offset by the
of the reduction in direct man-hour need for providing additional skilled programming capabilities when required.
These indirect manpower requirements emphasize the need to consider the pro-
spective effects of individual robot applications separately from the effects of robotization programs, especially when more complex programmable robots are
involved. for labor
mechanical robots which are introduced as direct replacements altering other component of the production process offer no
special evaluation robots for various
But the requirements of more complex
manpower commitments. depends on the number
the effectiveness with which these are
utilized such man-
power requirements might offset most or all of the expected benefits of reductions in operator man-hours if the number of robots acquired were too small to utilize
(3) For more detailed discussion of this analytical approach and for some empirical findings resulting from its applications, see B. Gold, Productivity, Technology
Economic Analysis, Managerial Strategies