The allure of automation is growing as it becomes more attainable and affordable. In the past, owning a sleek robot to assemble widgets at high speeds was as likely as having a Lamborghini. Today, automated solutions are as numerous and dependable as family sedans. Automation can provide a practical, robust, and long-term solution. But how do you know when and where to upgrade?
|Automation is a long-term commitment that will positively impact business for years. Time invested up front results in a better solution.|
Factor in as many differences as you can determine: cost of interruptions to existing operations for automated upgrades, manual labor expenses, differences in upkeep costs, spare part costs, operator/maintenance training costs, and scrap costs, for example. Use a long-term view when trying to measure these costs, and determine your automation “break-even” point. How long will your automated line have to run to pay for the automation upgrade?
Always look for the greatest impact at the lowest cost when prioritizing when and where to automate. Determine the functions to automate, how difficult automation would be, and the costs versus benefits.