Some highly automated manufacturers report scrap losses cut by as much as 50 percent. PHOTO courtesy KUKA.
By the Automate show team
Manufacturers are facing more challenges than ever thanks to supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and increased costs on just about everything—just to name a few. The key to overcoming these obstacles and paving your way forward may be within reach. Here are some of the top reasons why you should explore automating your operation today.
1) LOWER OPERATING COSTS
Yes, adding robotics and automation costs money. What managers often don’t see is the increased speed of throughput, higher production output, fewer production stops and lower labor costs that automated processes can bring.
2) BETTER CONSISTENCY AND QUALITY
This means lower costs, too. For example, a properly programmed robot will produce the same product or execute the same task over and over, without pauses or scheduled breaks. Robots don’t get tired or bored, so the quality on job #500 will be the same as on job #1. They’ll also keep working while humans are at lunch, on break or tending to other operational needs. Human error will be dramatically reduced, there will be fewer problems with quality (we all know how much time a quality glitch can take!), and fewer scrapped parts. Some highly automated manufacturers report scrap losses cut by as much as 50 percent.
3) SAFER WORKPLACE
Accidents on the production line have direct costs: production stoppage, lost time, lost output, etc. But there are hidden costs as well, like the time to find a substitute for the injured worker, the time to train them, speed and quality losses as the replacement gets up to speed, increased worker compensation costs. . . the list goes on. A safer workplace is therefore a lower cost workplace—and every production manager will do anything to attain it.
4) HAPPIER EMPLOYEES
The standard theme is that automation eliminates workers, so employees fear and distrust it. But today, many experienced manufacturers tout the benefits. Why? Well, for starters the thing every worker dislikes is the “DDD” (dirty, dull and dangerous) jobs, and automation can eliminate that kind of work.
By doing so, you free those workers up for other, better jobs. Jobs where human skills can make a bigger difference, such as fine motor coordination, creativity, critical thinking, planning, and keeping customers engaged.
You may even pay them more, but you’ll also retain them instead of losing them to competitors while keeping them engaged and developing their careers. Plus, the increased labor costs will be more than offset by the increased production and decreased lost time. And the bonus: You’ll be more likely to attract better, more skilled workers to your plant.
5) ADVANCED FLEXIBILITY
Automation can help you become what we might call a shock-proof operation. Automation provides flexibility and therefore the ability to cope with labor shortages, supply problems or fluctuating demand. You’ll be able to take on new, bigger jobs and complete them faster—without boosting your headcount or operating footprint. You’ll also be more competitive, offering speedier delivery with lower costs.