Automating certain parts of your manufacturing process can not only significantly increase your facility’s overall productivity, but it can also help you retain your workforce. Keep reading for just a few reasons you should consider automating your processes.
#1: Compensate for Labor Shortages
As older workers begin to reach retirement age, there are fewer workers available to fill their roles. Not only can automation perform some of the labor that might be too difficult for an older worker, but it also allows those older workers to remain in the industry longer. This also applies to facilities that have already started to automate—continuing to modernize your processes will only help close the labor gap as well as allow your most experienced workers to continue working with you.
#2: Eliminate Manual and Clerical Tasks
As discussed in our blog, “Retaining More of Your Workforce With Smart Automation,” automation can improve the general working conditions of your facility in a variety of different ways. One of the most important ways is freeing your workers up to focus on the parts of their jobs that machines can never replace, like problem-solving and critical thinking. They can focus wholly on improving processes. Even if you’ve already automated some of your process, the more steps you can automate down the road, the more energy your workers will be able to devote to the important things mentioned above.
#3: Improve Worker Safety
When people are actively involved in certain manufacturing processes that require physical labor, there’s always a higher accident risk involved. When you automate these tasks, however, and workers adopt a more supervisory role, their work becomes much safer. In fact, manufacturing jobs have become significantly safer over the last few decades, thanks in large part to system automation. Manufacturing jobs will only continue to become safer for workers, as long as facilities are continually upgrading and automating their processes.
#4: Improve Product Quality
Not only can automation increase productivity, but it can also perform certain manufacturing processes with extreme uniformity and conformity. One of the greatest benefits that comes with automation is the reduction of fraction defect rates. The more steps in your process you can automate, the more precision you’ll have in your end product.
#5: Reduce Manufacturing Lead Time
Limiting the time between when your customer places an order to when their product is delivered can provide an extreme competitive advantage to the manufacturer—especially in today’s world of seemingly instant order fulfillment and delivery. Automation can also reduce your facility’s work-in-process inventory.
#6: Accomplish Processes That Can’t be Done Manually
One of the most cut-and-dry benefits of automating is increased facility capabilities. There are, of course, certain manufacturing tasks that can’t be done by hand. Certain integrated circuit fabrication operations, rapid prototyping processes based on computer graphics models, machining of complex, mathematically defined surfaces using computer numerical control—none of these things can be done without a computer-controlled system. The more automated equipment you have, the greater capacity your facility will have to fulfill a wider variety of consumer needs.
#7: Avoid Costs Associated with Not Automating
As technology advances, more and more costs—both financial and other—come with ignoring automation. There’s a significant competitive advantage gained when you automate your manufacturing plant, and benefits often show up in unexpected ways like improved quality, better labor relations, better company image, and higher sales. Companies who refuse to automate their processes will likely find themselves at a competitive disadvantage with their customers and competition. This also applies to companies who automate one part of their process, or a few parts, and stop there—as the world turns more toward automation, it’s important to stay up-to-date with equipment upgrades and opportunities for growth.
If you think your business could benefit from any of these, but don’t know where to start, we have good news for you. Check out our Implementing Automation series for tips on how to get started! Have questions? Get in touch with us today.