App. B—Commissioned Background Papers
such additional expertise. ation of proposals for the
Because of acquisition
such threshold requirements, the evalu- of more complex robots should cover the
planned program to be carried out over several years rather than charging the whole of such basic service manpower requirements against the first robots
acquired. As was indicated earlier, unit manpower costs depends on
the effects of increasing the use of robots on resulting changes in the volume of direct and
indirect manpower per unit of output and in their respective rates of payment. In the case of relative simple robots which replace labor and involve quite minimal demands on existing maintenance and set-up personnel, the result tends
to be a sharp was affected.
reduction in In the case
the unit wage cost of the particular of adoptions of more complex robots,
operation which such reductions
in direct unit wage costs would tend to be at least partly offset by increases
in the higher depend
number of needed maintenance and other specialists as well as by their
The net effects on total unit manpower costs would levels over which these larger indirect costs were
of the decreased flexibility in employment levels attendant changes in output levels may have a unit manpower costs as well as on total unit capital
But the introduction of robots is not likely to affect output levels
except, as was noted earlier, where carefulness have resulted either in capacity, or in higher reject rates
operator limitations of effort, fatigue or under-utilization of the related equipment
as well) downtime
robots are subject or readjustments.
Expected changes, in the total unit costs of the operation directly affected can then be readily calculated by weighting the estimated percentage change in unit materials, labor and capital costs by their respective proportions of total
costs, as shown in Fig. 3.
In the case of more complex robots, however, as
exemplified by processing and assembly robots, a broader evaluation framework may be necessary if the effective functioning of such robots requires modifications
in prior operations in order to provide more precise
or higher quality parts to
enter such processes.
A broader evaluation framework may also be necessary if
such robotized operations significantly subsequent stages of operations, or the affecting prospective demand or prices.
affect the quality of
productivity and costs of the final product in ways