econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 04 October 2017

Made In America: The 33 Cent Chinese Arkansas T-Shirt

by John Slater

Recently my colleague Marco Chan shared an extraordinary story that puts a new slant on the public discussion about robotics, China, outsourcing and the future of jobs.


Please share this article - Go to very top of page, right hand side, for social media buttons.


According to this Bloomberg Business Week story, a Chinese manufacturer, Tianyuan Garments Co., is investing $20 million to open a plant in Little Rock that will utilize robots developed by a Georgia company, Software Automation, to manufacture T-Shirts at a cost of 33 cents per shirt. Each SEWBOT™ workline is capable of spitting out a T-Shirt every 26 seconds. Human workers don’t stand a chance against such competition, no matter how low a wage rate they are willing to accept.

We’re in a period of profound change as digital technologies promise to transform virtually every industry globally. In manufacturing this rapidly accelerating transformation will impact employers and employees alike. PWC recently estimated that 38% of U.S. jobs could be taken by robots by 2030. Futurists like Martin Ford and even well-known industrialists like Elon Musk have begun to argue that we need to consider adoption of a Universal Basic Income to address a world in which machines and artificial intelligence have replaced human beings in a large part of the economy.

For those that fear the consequences of automation, the connection has been broken between technological advance and the creation of new higher skilled jobs categories to replace the old lower skilled jobs. I have more confidence that a dynamic economy will continue to provide opportunities for our citizens, creating currently unimaginable job categories for those willing and able to adapt. Lifetime learning has become a survival skill in our society, opening up new business opportunities in education and training and likely creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.

At the FOCUS Investment Banking Advanced Manufacturing & Automation Team we spend our time addressing the impact of automation on businesses worldwide. We help both those companies that create the technologies powering change and those whose industries are being transformed by new tools like those created by the bright engineers at Software Automation. Workforce issues are paramount for these firms. While labor cost is undoubtedly a factor, our conversations with multiple business owners have led us to conclude that other factors may be as or more important.

The machining industry provides a prime example. Milling machines remove metal from rods or bars of steel, aluminum and a variety of other increasingly exotic and expensive materials and alloys. The customers demand near perfection at tolerances down to a few ten thousandths of an inch and increasingly even in the micron scale. This level of precision cannot be accomplished by even the highest skilled machinist; only with the use of robotic tools, sometimes referred to as CNC in the industry, can the parts be built to support such critical technologies as aerospace and defense, medical devices and our wireless communications infrastructure.

Increasingly we will find that an ever-wider range of industries will require the tools of automation - robots, optical sensing, AI and motion control to name a few - to meet the exacting quality and performance required by their customers and to meet the demanding delivery schedules required by product life cycles increasingly measured in months, not years. Equally important for the machining industry, even where humans can do the work, skilled workers are not to be found. Despite wages well above national and regional averages, there are serious shortages of skilled machinists and even less skilled jobs like machine loaders are hard to fill. The average welder in the U. S. is in his or her late fifties and more skilled welders are retiring than new welders are joining the workforce. Owners have increasingly turned to robots, not to replace workers, but to fill jobs for which there are not enough qualified applicants.

For more on the topic of automation and jobs, download our recent interview on the subject at Global Economic Intersection.

In future posts, we’ll talk more about how automation is primed to impact specific industries. Catch our full interview with Palaniswamy “Raj" Rajan, founder and CEO of Softwear Automation in our next post.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical Opinion Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted. You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.




Econintersect Opinion








search_box
Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.







Keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government





























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved