Automation and the UK seafood industry
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The UK seafood industry employs labour, either sparingly or intensively, across all sectors in the supply chain. There are notable differences in operational tasks, and job roles, across the supply chain. These differences affect the decision to deploy labour or automation.
Human labour offers flexibility, whilst technology and automation can provide consistency and predictability. The level of automation in UK seafood shows clear differences across supply chains, with high volume chains much more automated than low volume chains.
Labour and automation are how essential industry tasks are undertaken. It’s important to understand current trade-offs between labour and automation and any threats and opportunities that may arise as these trade-offs evolve into the future.
This review explores how developments in labour and automation might affect the UK seafood industry. It describes:
- Operational problems amenable to technology or a skilled workforce in the seafood chain.
- Areas of technology relevant to seafood at different stages in the seafood chain.
- Areas of seafood oriented to technology or labour.
- Drivers and possible pathways for technology.
- Opportunities, threats and actions that can be pursued.
Longer term drivers suggest several changes over the next 10 years:
- The availability and cost of labour is likely to be more challenging whilst the availability and cost of technology is likely to improve.
- Automation will impact job roles – some roles will become obsolete while other roles focused on complex problem solving, creativity and social relationships may emerge.
- Automation could reinvent food supply chains and address a number of current challenges facing the food industry.
- We expect to see a digital transformation from a linear supply chain to an ‘autonomous ecosystem of firms’ acting as data driven, intelligent food production and consumption systems.
Automation and the UK seafood summary (summary report)
Automation and the UK seafood industry (full report)
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