A Chinese factory automated its workforce as part of a multi-year plan for the region to phase out the need for human factory workers, letting go of 90 percent of its employees.
Changying Precision Technology Company produces mobile phones using robots and automated production lines, Monetary Watch reports. The company even uses autonomous transport trucks for delivery and shipment of its products.
Opponents of factory automation are concerned about the continuous loss of jobs for human workers all over the world. According to the Economic Report of the President from 2016, workers that earn $20 per hour or less face an 83 percent chance of losing their jobs to automation, reports Geek.com.
The Guangdong province, however, suffers from a shortage of workers, not jobs. The region is often referred to as “the workshop of the world” due to the high number of factories producing goods for export. But the Department of Human Resources and Social Security for the Guangdong province has reported shortages of between 600,000 and 800,000 workers.
As a response to this disparity, the region has been undergoing widespread, government-funded automation with plans to automate over 1,900 factories by the end of 2017.
The first zero-labor factory in Dongguan, a major manufacturing base in Guangdong province, was being built in May 2015, China Daily reported. Board chairman Chen Qixing of Guangdong Everwin Precision Technology said over 2,000 workers would be needed at the factory, if it weren't for the robots.
"The use of industrial robots will help the company to reduce the number of front-line workers by at least 90 percent," Chen told China Daily at the time. "When all the 1,000 industrial robots are put into operation in the coming months, we will only need to recruit fewer than 200 software technicians and management personnel."
Although opponents of automation have expressed concern over the quality of products built by robots, the Changying Precision Technology Company has reportedly seen a 250 percent increase in production since replacing 90 percent of its workforce with robots, while the number of product defects has actually decreased from 25 percent to just 5 percent.
With such incredible results, general manager Luo Weiqiang has suggested reducing the company's human staff again in the near future for the entire factory, going from the current 60 employees to only 20.