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Demand for service engineers decreases thanks to technology
Demand for service engineers decreases thanks to technology
Demand for service engineers decreases thanks to technology

Demand for service engineers decreases thanks to technology

Added to MTDCNC by MTDCNC on 14 October 2013

In today’s world of globalisation, it has become imperative for manufacturing companies to look for machines and tools that can simplify production, increase output and provide superior quality, while ensuring low overheads and production costs.  Globalisation has made manufacturing in all sectors more competitive and one of the main reasons for this is unsurpassed technological innovation.

But hand-in-glove with that, technology has also reduced the demand for service engineers as many faults are now being diagnosed and resolved (remotely) online.  Many assembly and production lines are controlled by software and these software applications are so advanced that service providers can run diagnostics remotely and figure out the issue.  Quite often, the issues also are resolved remotely, or clients are instructed on how to rectify the problem.  As a result, it has allowed manufacturing and production companies to reduce their maintenance costs and has also reduced the demand for service engineers.

This reduction in demand for service engineers has not affected productivity, which continues to be robust.  There is no doubt that technological progress spurs productivity and also helps to make communities wealthier.  However, the inherent down-side to technological progress is the inevitable elimination of a requirement for certain kinds of jobs/roles and one such job that has been heavily impacted is that of a service engineer.  While this diminution is not yet total, technological progress and the ability to identify problems and resolve them remotely means the demand for service engineers has reduced tremendously in the last few years.

This is somewhat of a paradox to many in the engineering disciplines.  Productivity and innovation have both increased significantly, but there is less need for service engineers.  Many economists claim that technology is advancing so quickly that it has become impossible for engineers and organisations to keep abreast of the changes.  However, at the same time, it is important to realise that these new technologies are beneficial and have been instrumental in boosting productivity, so that manufacturing units can keep pace with the demand.  Also, these technologies have made many jobs simpler, easier and safer meaning that fewer people are presently employed manufacturing plants than was the case only just a few years ago.  

In many automotive plants today, where robotics were introduced circa the 1980s, machines and technology solutions handle tasks, such as welding and painting – something that humans used to do earlier.  And, most of these machines can be maintained and repaired without the physical presence of a service engineer.  Anecdotally it makes me think back to the early days of the ‘sealed-unit-electronics’ that had replaced ‘moving-parts’ systems: the ‘in-house’ humorists produced a picture for the machine-shop notice-board of an empty shop-floor showing racks of machines, but with no people and a picture of a big dog.  A speech-bubble caption read, 'what’s the dog for?'  Response speech-bubble said: 'To keep the engineer away from the equipment!'  How prescient was that?


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