Automating complex industrial tasks is becoming increasingly challenging because in many cases the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. There are often no simple answers to the remaining problems. But pressure remains on many industries which rely on manual labour to perform repetitive, tedious tasks to increase automation and offset the challenges of recruitment and retention.

Taking the next step requires a bold vision, an understanding of the risks and invariably the application of a complex blend of diverse technologies.

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I’d like to talk to you about automation, the types of automation that you’ll find in complex industrial processes like harvesting specialty crops, picking and fulfilling orders inside of a warehouse or preparing airline foods. These are complex, unpredictable and variable tasks that humans are particularly good at doing because they’ve got good problem-solving skills, excellent hand-eye coordination and exquisite manual dexterity.

The problem is that these are not the type of jobs that people aspire to, they’re tedious, they’re often physically demanding, and so retention is a problem. So applying automation to these things requires often disregarding, or discarding altogether the current business model and starting afresh.

At Cambridge Consultants we believe that the first step in that process is to really strategically deconstruct the sequence and ask the question – is this feasible, is it possible at all? And if so, where and how? The next application is one of technology, and at that point it really requires a bold vision to proceed and an acceptance of the risk associated, and an understanding that in order to solve these complex problems requires an orchestrated application of current, cutting-edge technologies and techniques in order to deliver the breakthrough technology needed. 

Bruce Ackman
Industry & Energy Commercial Lead

Before joining us in December 2016, Bruce held business development positions with Manta Product Development and Sagentia. During his wide-ranging career, Bruce has advanced the commercial development of early-stage technologies and service in the life sciences, consumer product and innovation sectors. Bruce holds an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, QC and a Masters in Business Administration from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.