Now we feel that there are fewer and fewer workers in the workshop. Looking at the huge workshop, we can't see a single person, but there are a lot of equipment. Does this mean that the era of robot replacement is coming?
In fact, there are some objective reasons for the difficulty of recruitment and high salary. Many enterprises are slowly transforming and trying to use automatic equipment, which not only saves labor problems and improves efficiency, but also improves product quality. In addition, automatic robots can do a lot of work instead of labor in stamping, welding, palletizing, handling, painting, etc.
As early as 2014, China's home appliance industry robot replacement labor plan significantly accelerated. According to the latest news, six air-conditioning production bases in the United States have started automatic manufacturing and upgrading, and will invest 5 billion yuan in the next five years to replace artificial robots.
The substitution effect of robots has begun to appear. Take Midea as an example: in 2011, its air conditioning revenue was about 50 billion yuan, and the number of employees was more than 50000; by 2014, its air conditioning revenue was more than 70 billion yuan, and the number of employees was 26000. According to Midea's plan, its air conditioning revenue will reach 100 billion yuan in 2018, but the number of employees will be reduced to 20000. Revenue and employment are increasing inversely.
In fact, China's mainstream home appliance enterprises have launched robot replacement plans, but the efforts have been large and small, and the progress has been fast and slow.
The robot substitution plan of Chinese enterprises takes place against the background of the sharp increase of human cost. Looking back, in 2007, the all China Federation of trade unions made it clear that the wages of employees in enterprises must increase simultaneously with the benefits of enterprises; in 2008, the Department of labor and social security of Guangdong Province stipulated that the wages of managers of enterprises whose average wages of front-line employees did not increase should not increase. In the following years, there was a large area of continuous wage increase in Chinese enterprises. By 2010, the average wage of employees had increased nearly 100% compared with 2005.
Not long ago, Li Yizhong, member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee and former Minister of the Ministry of industry and information technology, said in a speech that in recent years, the cost of China's manufacturing industry has increased significantly, not only higher than southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and other regions, but even reached 90% of the cost of manufacturing in the United States. In the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta, it has reached 95% of the cost of manufacturing in the United States The cost is lower than at home.
The advantage of "low labor cost" that Chinese enterprises have been proud of for a long time is fading away. The rapid increase of labor cost directly brings more pressure on enterprises, which makes many labor-intensive enterprises hard to bear, and they have to move out or even go bankrupt.
Taking Dongguan, the "world factory", as an example, no less than 4000 enterprises closed in 2014, making it the second large-scale enterprise collapse in the history of China's manufacturing industry since 2008. Those enterprises that enter because of the low labor cost in China have become the most active enterprises to escape the tide of China. Among them, even some internationally renowned enterprises, such as Panasonic, Daikin, sharp and TDK, intend to move their manufacturing bases back to Japan, and even world-famous enterprises such as Nike, Foxconn, Google and Samsung intend to leave China.
Ma Jiantang, director of China's National Bureau of statistics, said 2012 was a turning point in China's demographic dividend, with the working age population gradually declining after 2012. In 2012, China's GDP growth rate dropped below 8% for the first time in more than 10 years, which is related to the turning point of population in that year.
It is necessary for us to have a deep look at the possible impact of the robot replacement program on Chinese enterprises and even made in China. The starting point of the plan is to deal with the rising cost of human resources, which has a profound impact on made in China.
We know that an important manifestation of the gap between China's manufacturing and developed countries is the gap in the quality of the labor force. In 2011, Liu Yongxing, chairman of hope group, said that in the flour processing industry, the efficiency of Chinese enterprises is only 1 / 6-1 / 10 of that of South Korea. In fact, the gap between Chinese enterprises is not only reflected in labor efficiency, but also in employee engagement and fine work adaptability. What Chinese employees lack most is probably craftsmanship.
In the past, we used to see the cheap side of China's labor force, intentionally or unintentionally ignoring the inefficient side of China's labor force. If cheap labor can't bring about efficient production, it doesn't make sense in fact, because when you get cheap labor, you pay the price of low efficiency and labor quality. In my opinion, made in China has not changed the image of "low quality and low price" in the international market so far, which has a lot to do with the overall low quality of China's labor force. A typical saying is: the same pile of parts, Japanese workers assembled cars than Chinese workers assembled cars life expectancy of at least three years. Therefore, improving the quality of Chinese industrial workers has become the key to improving Chinese manufacturing.
Robot production, in addition to reducing the repetitive physical labor of workers, the biggest benefit is conducive to the standardization of production process. It should be noted that standardized production is regarded as the most critical factor among all factors affecting product quality. Still take automobile assembly as an example. How many turns should a screw be screwed? There are strict regulations in Japan. But in China, the degree of how many turns should be screwed depends on the feeling of the workers themselves. It's almost OK. How many turns does the robot turn? It's all up to the preset program. If all production links are carried out according to a unified standard, the quality of the products produced will not be uneven, which is standardized production. Moreover, the robot will not make emotions, and the production process will not be affected by emotions, ensuring the stability of quality.
Therefore, the robot alternative is considered to be the most feasible and effective one among many plans to upgrade made in China.
In fact, made in China has come to a time when it must be transformed. The way of extensive management and manufacturing in the past is suitable for China as a developing country, but not for China as a developing country leaping over from a developing country to a developed country. It is impossible that made in China has been at a low level.
For a long time in the past, China has been known as the "world manufacturing center". However, this "center" is largely the synonym of "low-end manufacturing". The huge manufacturing capacity has not contributed to China's real international enterprises and brands. Fang Hongbo, chairman of Midea Group, said the gap between made in China and developed countries is not narrowing but widening. When we see the progress of China's manufacturing, we should also see that the manufacturing progress of developed countries is faster. If China wants to become a real manufacturing power, it must carry out a thorough transformation and upgrading of manufacturing, that is, to produce products with international competitiveness according to internationally accepted standards. To achieve this goal, we must completely change the way of manufacturing in China. Only by producing according to international standards can we produce products with international standards. The robot replacement program offers us such an opportunity. Therefore, the implementation of the robot plan is of great significance to the promotion of made in China.
At present, the robot substitution plan popular in Chinese enterprises can be regarded as the primary stage of "made in China 2025". In a complete sense, the production automation is not limited to replacing artificial with robots, but also has a deeper connotation, such as the introduction of intelligent technology, the deep combination of informatization and automation, and the realization of comprehensive upgrading and transformation from the manufacturing process to the product itself. "Deutsche industrie 4.0" is considered the best template.
In the future, the factory is not only mainly produced by intelligent robots, but also the products are intelligent. It should not be an accident that robots enter Chinese enterprises on a large scale just when intelligent products are surging. Take household appliances as an example. At present, mainstream enterprises in China, such as Haier, Midea and Changhong, have issued intelligent development strategies.
The robot replacement plan should be observed in the context of the great transformation of made in China, rather than as an isolated event.
It has repeatedly proved that cheap labor cannot support made in China. If China wants to become a manufacturing power and create a big country, it must take the "four high" line of "high technology, high cost, high quality and high price". "Cheap and fine quality" has always been an untrue lie. Apple has proved this conclusion repeatedly. China's failure to create a real sense of international enterprises and brands in decades has proved that our strategy of low price and low cost is a failure. The robot replacement program helps make in China go global.
It should be noted that the introduction of robots does not mean that Chinese enterprises will keep pace with international enterprises from now on. In fact, the robot plan only partially breaks through the short board of Chinese enterprises in the manufacturing process. Another bottleneck still exists, that is, technology research and development. At present, Chinese enterprises have not changed significantly in this regard.
Unlike manufacturing, which can be realized by buying robots, R & D and technology can't be bought with money. China's idea of "market for technology" has long failed. The lack of core technology, original technology and key technology has become the biggest bottleneck restricting the sustainable development of Chinese enterprises. Taking the household appliance industry as an example, we all know that the television in the future will surely be the world of OLED. The biggest feature of this technology is that it can realize the curling and folding of the display. However, the technology accumulation of Chinese enterprises in this area is very weak, and the gap with Korean and Japanese enterprises is more than 10 years. Even if we manufacture all displays (including color TV) to realize robot production, we cannot break through the core of OLED The reason for the shortage of technology lies in the fact that there are too many lack of courses in our research and development in this area, which is a long-term concern. Therefore, no matter how much we attach importance to the introduction of robots, we should not forget that R & D and technology are the foundation of enterprises.
As for whether the large-scale introduction of robots will lead to the competition between machines and workers? I think it is certain, but it can't be an excuse for us to reject robots. The issue of workers' employment needs to be resolved in a separate case. In fact, even in developed countries, there are still machines and people competing for jobs.
We can predict optimistically that with the implementation of the robot replacement plan, manufacturing in China will achieve a qualitative leap in the next three to five years. More and more Chinese enterprises will grow into international enterprises and more and more Chinese brands will grow into world brands.