SATS CEO Says Not Competitive, Technology And Humans Can Be Complementary

There are rising fears across the globe that many jobs could soon be displaced by machines even as there are advancements being made in the field of robotics which have catalyzed such fears.

But Alex Hungate, president and CEO of airport ground-handler and catering solutions provider SATS, that does not always have to be the case.

Large inroads in technological investments under Hungate’s leadership has been made by the company which operates in 50 locatios across 14 countries. And with SATS reporting an increase in overall productivity across its business units while keeping labor costs in check, the investments seem to have paid off.

Primarily due to a failure to allay employees’ fears, robotics and automation technology implementations in companies often stumble and sometimes fail to take off or deliver desired results, Hungate said in a television interview.

“At SATS, we’re technology-driven but we’re people-led, so we try to encourage people to come up with the ideas about how we use technology and we remove the threat that you referred to by stating very clearly that we don’t intend to reduce their jobs,” he said.

“We intend to keep the same number of people over the long term and benefit from these growth trends,” he added. He was emphasizing about the growing importance of people-driven innovation at the company.

And in a bid to rapidly increase capacity to meet rising demand in the region, the SATS e-commerce Airhub in Singapore’s Changi Airport was recently opened by the company as it is also betting big on e-commerce in the Southeast Asian region.

“E-commerce is one of the big stories of our age, you know, Southeast Asia is actually the fastest growing internet region in the world. E-commerce volumes (are) growing at about 30 percent per annum and (are) estimated to be $88 billion in value by 2025,” Hungate said.

It has become a necessity for the company to adopt the latest technologies in order to stay ahead of the curve.

“What we don’t want is the top line increase to drop down, you know, to require hiring a lot more people so it doesn’t drop to the bottom line,” Hungate said. “By deploying capital in technology, in a high-tech facility like this, we’re going from 500 mailbags per hour to 1,800 mail bags per hour today and then we have the ability to double that without hiring any people.”

Technology is likely to continue playing an important role for the company, looking ahead, Hungate said.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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Categories: Creativity, Economy & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

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