Republicans and Democrats constantly lament the loss of middle-class jobs. Depending on your political leanings, it’s because of poor immigration policies, government rules and regulations, or unfair trade deals. The blame game by politicians may help manipulate votes and agendas, but it creates a dichotomy between perception and reality as to an irrefutable culprit—technology.

Technology is a job killer no political group can make a convincing argument against; it takes jobs that will never be returned. It is reality.

The best examples of how technology is affecting middle-class jobs can be found in two new mills currently being constructed.

Georgia-Pacific is building a $100 million, 300,000-square-foot lumber mill that will receive 150 log trucks per day and produce approximately 230 million board feet of lumber per year. Despite such volume, this mill will use just 100 full-time employees. That is very telling of where jobs are going.

Meanwhile, Roy O. Martin is opening a 158-acre, $280 million OSB plant featuring some of the industry’s newest manufacturing technologies. This world-class facility will employ 165 people and be a huge provider to suppliers in Texas and Louisiana.

Both Georgia-Pacific and Roy O. Martin are to be commended for their huge investments and their commitment to new technology. But note again that, together, they will use just 265 employees. Technology is the biggest reason why production jobs in the mill and manufacturing industries have plunged from 517,300 in January 2000 to 310,100 in August 2017.

Embracing new technology should be happening in your LBM business. The use of new technology in truss plants over the past 20 years should have increased your saw capacity by at least three-fold, using half as many people. Truss designers should be producing two to three times the number of designs daily. Accounting software should have eliminated more than half of your backroom staff. The number of salespeople to generate the same amount of business should be down. Your warehouse staff and truck drivers should be more efficient; and the number of mistakes and callbacks greatly reduced. The list of improvements can continue endlessly.

That said, we all know embracing technology can be hard. A lot of independent dealers are slow to accept new technology and new methods because their executives cling to antiquated procedures. Many older executives can’t grasp the idea that a backup paper file isn’t needed when info can be stored in the cloud.

The technology gap between independent dealers and national providers is where most dealers are getting clobbered on price. The more that technology can help your business cut actual man-hours, the more successful you can compete. Computers don’t call in sick, and they will work all the overtime you ask of them.

For some companies, their obsession with technology has been their undoing by trying to implement systems that were not ready or were not a good fit for their business. There are many national companies in the cemetery of failure because their executives went all-in on a pie-in-the-sky technology that didn’t work.

My view is simple. Embrace technology and invest in products that reduce actual labor and tasks. Avoid falling for shiny objects cited in some new report. There is no argument that technology is reducing middle-class jobs, and our industry is proof of it. Don’t let it reduce your job.