Nick Yates Says Robotic Technology Is Poised to Disrupt Even Vending Machines

In recent years, there has been much media coverage of how fast robots will take away our jobs – and how many of us will be affected. With dire predictions about the robots that eat 800 million jobs by 2030 even the most modest observers consider that taking Robot control takes place in the next four decades .

But this is not the true story here: The real story is how many robots will automate and take over releasing to do things that require human intervention. While some work is likely to disappear as robotic technology finds ways to streamline and make it intelligible, we will find new ways to allocate robot resources to handle the things we do not want to manage.

An example of how robotic automation can make our industries more productive and less taxing can be found in vending machines. While these sales platforms may seem simple at first glance, they offer insights into how robots can help us build the future to be less taxing, but more useful for humans.

Eliminating the Lack of Mindset for Reflection

Nick Yates is the founder and CEO of Generation SUXT Franchise Brands who builds the automatic machines that deliver frozen yogurt and ice cream in stores. With more than $ 130 million in franchise and license agreements at more than 230 sites, Yates has seen its company grow very quickly.

Yates says that his company's experience is that most companies use robotics as a powerful tool to support their customer service strategies. " By making sure that robots pack boxes faster or provide answers to simple questions, business owners can find more productive and effective ways to use them." Employee, "he explains.

It is important to distinguish between work that requires ideas and work that requires speed: rationalization is incredibly useful for the second, but stifling for the former. " Things that improve productivity, including robots, are what makes economies grow and for all of us to be richer on average," says Yates, "but that's not the case. is a world where the average does not mean because it's a world in which there will be larger gaps between skilled and unskilled workers, between those who have a job and those who do not. have not. "

This means that we must carefully rethink how we can best utilize the resources we have: How can we eliminate work Can it be automated ? How can we make our businesses rely more on the critical thinking skills of human workers than on their manual work?

Automation of Distribution Through Robots

The Yates company believes finding the solution for the manual vending machine industry: automated robots that deliver frozen yogurt and ice cream. Its robots dispense and treat frozen treats to customers in locations that already capture high levels of pedestrian traffic, but the experience is unique in that customers can order from a digital user interface. This interface offers a selection of up to six flavors and up to six different fillings, preparing fresh desserts in under 60 seconds.

Yates says that ice cream brewing robots are also entertainers, dancing and playing music while displaying animations on their screens. This enhances the customer experience – especially for its under-18 audience – and creates a commitment, despite the absence of a human ice cream player.

These unattended robots are disruptive agents in a highly service-oriented industry. "The industry has been dominated by retail franchises that require traditional infrastructure that, sadly, now clash with the fact that the cost of labor has increased to such an extent that the owner or the operator does not have a lot of sense "Yates says. "The sale of freshly-delivered ice cream has never been done before. We saw an opportunity to disrupt and run with it. "

While many in the food and beverage industry can claim that the customer service experience is the complete marketing platform For restaurants and other food vendors, the growth of Yates's model shows that humans are not put off by the customer service presented by a robotic vendor. And the model may allow a scale that is not currently profitable for most labor-intensive restaurants and the food vendors. By repositioning human labor to focus on the development and experimentation of products, food suppliers can gain flexibility in preparation and distribution, even allowing them to infiltrate in difficult stages. .

What it means for the future

While robotic technology was out of reach for many companies, thanks to their prohibitively expensive cost structures, that is more the case. Yates points out that technology is becoming more affordable as more and more players enter the space. "Reliability, however, is still debatable," he says. "As technology evolves, the cost will go down until we get to a point where we can buy robots to cook, clean, serve ice cream, or do any other level of work. the consumer is affordable for everyone. "

Yates recognizes that the integration of robotic technology is not easy for any contractor, but it is worth it if the industry – and the # 39 – business – benefits. "Every industry needs someone who is willing to be the disruptive force that moves the whole group forward," he says. "Many people are wary of robots and do not want to trust them, but it's important to remember that we control robotic technology and have a say in how it works for us."

This control, he admits, can sometimes seem elusive: "robots can be sensitive and require the best software to make them work," he warns. "Make sure you combine the technologies to get the best result."

While the company has long predicted that robots will resume jobs in a deflated and conciliatory tone, it might be time to consider this loss of employment as a celebration. As robots automate everything from security to automatic selling, they allow humans to put all their effort into the things that they can make.

Brad Anderson

Brad is the editor who oversees the content of contributions on You can reach me at brad at

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