A business in today’s competitive market needs to be able to change and adapt to stay ahead of the competition. One of the key factors is understanding the costs that drive the business and how what we do impacts that cost. In our industry, labor is a significant component of our cost. We recognize the challenge to find, train, and retain quality people. High turnover impacts our business negatively both through productivity losses as well as the cost to train and retrain the new employees. One of the areas to improve our production and lower our cost is through the use of automation in the business.
“According to our analysis, fewer than 5 percent of occupations can be entirely automated using current technology. However, about 60 percent of occupations could have 30 percent or more of their constituent activities automated. In other words, automation is likely to change the vast majority of occupations—at least to some degree—which will necessitate significant job redefinition and a transformation of business processes” (Four fundamentals of workplace automation).
Many times it can be a challenge to “sell” automation to the workforce. Often they are concerned about jobs being eliminated, which is a scary thought. If communicated properly most employees will have great “buy in” and input on what you are trying to accomplish. Automation allows us to eliminated wasted movement, motion, or steps in our processes. When we eliminate these steps, we can produce more pallets or components. If you can produce more product in the same amount of time with the same amount of employees, you will lower your costs and be able to be more competitive in the market. Another benefit is reducing the stress and fatigue on our work force in a very physically demanding space. This will lead to a healthier and happier workforce and be able to extend the careers of our dedicated people.
Often when we think of automation, we right away assume it will be very costly. We have found even with relatively inexpensive improvements, such as the use of roller track, conveyors, or lifts, you can dramatically cut down on wasted time and motion.
Consider your business today and think about simple steps to lower your costs and promote a happy and healthy work environment with automation.