Automation Is Not Just Robots
Automation is a journey requiring adjustments around business goals, key metrics, products, and services that engage consumers. At the core, automation must support enterprises’ business objectives and internal and external resources to solve and prevent waste and inefficiencies. Additionally, automation enables predictable results through harmonious and predictable tools.
Many industries, whether multinational organizations, mid-size, or small family businesses, are facing higher costs, product shortages and labor disruption. This also includes pre-global disruption operating with high-cost variances, labor inequities and bottlenecked innovation/renovation of producing entities with underperforming operations. Topline sale growth is stymied, internal operations face employee morale issues, and simply stated, times are changing due to advances in technology. With technological advances, capital equipment options are more available yet require the right partnership to match what is correct for the organization.
The reason to automate drives excellence in several areas if done correctly. It is a significant value-added set of tools that transforms, changes paradigms, and drives sales. Benefits include reducing operational costs, eliminating waste, reducing variable costs, creating predictable supply chain goals, allowing continuous learning and building morale across the organization. At the core, automation must work with an organization culture – the question to ask: what critical heartbeat requirements are vital. It is important to define this statement and whether it is realistically measured against automation capabilities.
Automation provides various benefits, including:
- Labor savings through deployment and utilization of resources in value-added functions
- Elimination and reduction of ergonomic challenges (safety issues)
- Enabling businesses to be nimble and react to changing market conditions
- Driving sales growth
- Predictable and quality revenue based on strategic internal metrics
- Operational flexibility empowering product and brand innovation
Globalization has had an impact on the supply chain. The industry is re-thinking its outsourcing plan, not as a labor and cost metric, but instead a product on-shelf perspective. What is more valuable to an organization’s initial lower manufacturing cost: leveraging more global suppliers or improving local manufacturing operational cost to be competitive? When an enterprise loses shelf presence, competition will take that space.
There are many essential goals driving automation. A critical starting point must consider the customer tolerance for change and the use of an incremental plan. The industry requires more definitive results, not just pre-sales bells and whistles. A few driving goals and metrics to consider with automation include a solid ROI for a payback period of less than 2 years and the cost of ownership after the sale.
Finally, automation goals must consider the initial levels and the ‘premium’ of the automation (price) to the product(s) shelf life that drives organizations’ revenue (short and long term). This includes:
- The customer product shelf life and relation to ROI
- Sustainable and predictable results delivered year over year
If your organization is considering automation, just remember today’s automation means more than just robotics.