For an investment in automation to be worthwhile and profitable, there’s a particular way to approach the process that involves smart decisions and strategic moves. Whether a manufacturing executive follows this wisdom has a direct impact on their ability to integrate automation solutions that enable the company to perform better, faster, more inexpensively and with greater value to both consumers and investors.
As executives increasingly comprehend the business value inherent in automated solutions for manufacturing, distribution and other related operations, it becomes clearer that automation is more of a “must-have” than a “nice-to-have” for profitability. Just because executives put forth the investment and effort to integrate manufacturing automation, that doesn’t mean they always do so strategically—even though the strategy piece can actually mean the difference between a successful automation implementation and one that fails to align with the company’s core business goals.
Automation has been a staple in various factory settings for decades. And since the beginnings of industrial automation, there’s been a major shift in both technology and affordability.
But for some manufacturing executives, there remains a perception that the expense and risk of implementing automation is simply too much to be practical or worthwhile. The problem with this assumption is that it fails to acknowledge the immense profitability an investment in automation reaps for businesses of many types and sizes.
No executive wants to think about the daunting possibility of experiencing an unsuccessful automation integration. When there’s so much time and money on the line, it’s paramount that the company’s investment in automated solutions performs according to expectations. Otherwise, you just might end up with nothing to show for your efforts but an unfortunate hike to the unemployment line.
Technology is everywhere. When it comes to staples in your life like your smartphone, your TV, or your car computer, the tangible gains are obvious and immediate. When you’re talking about the business of manufacturing, however, there’s likely to be more ambiguity about whether technology is worthwhile. In other words, what can it actually do for the company’s bottom line?
When you’ve realized that automation can transform your business outcomes in some pretty significant ways, the logical next step is to consider how your organization will be most successful in terms of putting an effective automation plan into motion. The topic of leveraging internal resources versus partnering with a professional automation integrator is bound to surface. Because of this, it’s essential to have the most accurate information at your disposal so you don’t make unreliable assumptions in the decision-making process.
Manufacturing automation has been permeating the very fabric of the industry for quite some time now, evolving not only company operations, but also potential capabilities and the workforce as a whole. Applications in both fixed automation and robotics have the power to bring immense value to organizations that embrace the significance of automated solutions. While many manufacturing executives understand this concept in theory, there are those that question whether a specific integration project can actually improve their business.
Machine tending is often considered a highly complex process within manufacturing facilities. Because of this perceived complexity—and the obvious concern over bottom-line impacts—some companies have been slow to adopt automation for machine tending functions. Overlooking the distinct benefits of machine tending automation, however, can be a major disadvantage in terms of competitiveness and overall profitability.
Material handling, as a manufacturing term, encompasses a wide range of processes. It touches everything from machine tending and packaging to machine tending, press tending, picking, packing and palletizing. It is essential to the world’s supply chain capabilities and, therefore, a prime opportunity for integrating automation. As global realities, competitive pressures and consumer demands continue to shape (and reshape) the manufacturing landscape, automated material handling solutions become smarter and more advantageous than ever.
In a number of today’s markets for consumer packaged goods, particularly food, beverages and other consumables, businesses are increasingly leveraging the advantages of automation to optimize their packaging lines and maximize profitability. Essentially, any production operation that involves placing a product into a form of packaging—from bottles, sleeves and containers to cardboard cases and skids—has the potential to reap benefits from integrating automation.