172: How To Stay Focused on Your Mission and Deliver Robotic Solutions at Scale with Rapid Robotics' Jordan Kretchmer

From energy to supply chain, manufacturing represents the lifeblood of pretty much everything that makes our society run. It also contributes 14% of the GDP of the US, making it a space that needs to grow aggressively and an attractive prospect for our guest on this episode, Rapid Robotics CEO & Co-Founder Jordan Kretchmer.

Jordan explains how and why he made the transition from a highly successful career in MarTech to robotics and what this new focus means to him personally. He also provides fascinating insights into the recent refocus and impact that Rapid Robotics is having on the scalability of robotic workforces to help solve the labor crisis. And how the new technologies they are deploying enable robots to self-learn and adapt to their environments with human-like instincts.

Jordan reveals how he won over investors despite (initially) not being able to program a robot and managed to keep them all on board when the company refocused. We hear his top three takeaways for manufacturing leaders and how AI has changed the way we can ‘train’ robots.

Make sure to visit ManufacturingHappyHour.com for detailed show notes and a full list of resources mentioned in this episode. Stay Innovative, Stay Thirsty.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. You have a human putting a package of lunch meat into a box a thousand times a day. But that’s stuff that robots should be doing. There are not enough humans who want those jobs, so to keep up with production requirements fast, reliable automation is required.
  2. There is a massive labor shortage – upwards of 700,000 unfilled positions in manufacturing alone – so to combat this, Rapid Robotics are refocusing all their resources and efforts on making their computer vision technologies much more robust, enabling them to see what’s happening in the work cell and respond in real time.
  3. Manufacturing contributes 14% of the GDP of the US, so it’s a massive space that needs to grow aggressively. But the traditional ways of deploying automation and robotics are holding things back. So there’s no possible outcome where a robotics workforce could have an impact on the economy, unless there’s scalability.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “The labor shortage is growing at about 25% per year in the US and the number of robots installed per year is growing at 2%. So you don’t see any possible outcome where robotics workforces could actually have an impact on our economy unless there is scalability.”
  • “In order for us to have a reliably growing and authoritative manufacturing sector in the US we have to localize. We have to make more reliable supply chains, keep prices down and keep inflation down. All of those things happen from localizing manufacturing operations.”
  • “We’re going from having one deployment technician work on one deployment at a time, to one deployment technician being able to work on 10 at a time. That’s the kind of scale we need.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn.

SwipeGuide is empowering frontline excellence through standard work and skills development. The clear-cut platform lets frontline teams coordinate instructions, checklists, and training to optimize processes. Hear how HEINEKEN is using SwipeGuide in Episode 167.

Gray Solutions isn’t just a systems integrator. They’re a team of intellectual rebels on a mission to revolutionize smart manufacturing through innovation. They in specialize in Digital Transformation, OT Cybersecurity, Robotics + Vision, Process + Packaging, Turnkey Solutions, and more. Make sure to check out Episode 158 of Manufacturing Happy Hour for a full interview with their Founder & CEO Walker Mattox, or head to their website to connect with a Solutioneer today.

What We Discuss with Jordan

  • Why Jordan made the move from SaaS to robotics
  • Why the traditional ways of deploying automation and robotics aren’t growing fast enough
  • What needs to change before we see robotic workforces having an impact on society
  • What needs to happen for the US to have a reliably growing and authoritative manufacturing sector
  • How Jordan was able to start a robotics company despite not being able to program a robot
  • How Rapid Robotics is refocusing right now to help with the massive labor shortage
  • The top three takeaways from Jordan’s would-be masterclass!
  • How Rapid Robotics kept all their investors throughout their massive refocus
  • The enormous steps that have been taken in robotics over the past four years
  • How AI has enabled a whole new level of ‘robot training’

Recommended Resources

  • Rapid Robotics, delivering risk free robotics for end-of-line automation

Connect with Jordan

LinkedIn | Twitter