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A couple of comments on automation and smart working

The Covid-19 emergency has shown everybody that we are not immortal, but fragile and vulnerable. Personally, and at a business level. A pandemic like this in other words, could occur again in the future.
So over the last few days I have been thinking about the working mode to come.

My first thought went to automation and the new technologies in factories.
A thought which I shall summarize as follows:

viruses do not attack a robot and a fully (or almost) automated and interconnected factory, in a period such as that which we have just witnessed, we could have potentially remained operational without any stoppage because we would have been able to work in total safety.

Let’s think about the automotive sector for instance. In most cases the factory facilities of companies in this sector have very large spaces that allow operators to maintain the required distancing. Moreover, the automated lines – y nature – require a reduced number of operators. And then there is the fact that the companies operating in this sector have an economic capacity that can ensure safety condition to all workers in record time.
So why, when the pandemic began, were they among the first to close?

Simple organizational issues (in the broadest sense)? A higher number of infected individuals because it was in proportion to the number of employees? Or an attempt – strongly promoted by the trade unions – to avoid creating inequalities between line operators and clerks (in safer positions due to the use of smart working)? Or perhaps automation and new technologies do not actually help in this sense?
Or does something else spring to mind?

My second thought involved smart working.
At the start of the lockdown I had written that smart working in phases one and two had to be considered and evaluated for what it actually was: an emergency dictated by the particular moment in time and, therefore, it would NOT be accurate to evaluate the results in that specific situation (with schools closed and children inevitably hanging around the house).
It is true, however, that things have changed over the last few months.

Many companies are seriously reorganized themselves to adopt this new work mode after they realized that, in fact, the results were positive in spite of everything.

Twitter, for instance, will allow workers who want to, to operate in smart working mode forever.
And so will many Italian companies, generating conflicting opinions on the part of the workers themselves.
In fact, we must admit that smart working is something anomalous, something we are not accustomed to, but it is not to be said that in twenty or thirty years time (perhaps even less) we may actually witness a revolution in this sense and we will all work remotely for the majority of the time.

The smart working we have adopted in MICROingranaggi will certainly undergo further analysis in the future to decide whether to continue to apply it and with what rate of frequency. Generally speaking, I think that – although it is still not highly developed in the mechanical sector – it can really become a plus for our employees.

By Stefano Garavaglia

È il CEO di MICROingranaggi, nonché l'anima dell'azienda.
Per Stefano un imprenditore deve avere le tre C: Cuore, Cervello, Costanza.
Cuore inteso come passione per quello che fa, istinto e rispetto per il prossimo. Cervello inteso come visione, come capacità a non farsi influenzare da situazioni negative. Costanza perché un imprenditore non deve mai mollare.

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