Though just about any manufacturing company can reap the rewards of having automation as an option, it often can provide the biggest boost to small businesses, which account for all but 2 percent of the companies in the United States. Without a doubt there are hurdles to face when considering automation resources, but the investment can be worth it in the long run. Since most business owners plan to be in their fields for the long haul, it’s not a stretch to think they should explore the benefits of automation in manufacturing. Here are just a few of the selling points.
Small businesses still have to keep up with the big boys, and that means being as competitive as possible on price, production times and customer service. If automation – let’s be honest, we’re talking about robots here – is what it takes to move two to three times faster and raise the competitive stakes, then that is what’s best. Plus, you can run robots for hours on end without worrying about fatigue, something you can’t say about human workers. Although they certainly require routine maintenance, their downtime would be significantly less than a worker with the flu, especially if there is a mechanic trained in robotics on the company payroll.
Robots still must be operated by humans. Because men and women are manipulating, programming or overseeing the machines, they are in less of a position to get injured on the job. Among other benefits of automation, automation machines use precision movements that are predictable and clear, so there is little chance someone will be surprised by a movement and get hurt. In fact, many robots work in a fairly sterile environment with few humans around. Workers can control the machines from a safe distance or even remotely.
Certainly, there is a major investment required in order to include automation in the workplace. However, that expenditure usually can be offset by needing fewer human workers. Plus, since each action required for assembly is reduced to its simplest components, there is no need for additional tools or machinery as a human worker would require. Finally, over time the company can save money through reduced power and climate-control costs as the robots get more efficient in their work.
Humans are great at putting things together, but they can be even greater if they are able to spend time planning strategies for improved products, increased efficiencies or other high-level considerations. As the automation machines do the menial labor, humans are freer to take on other beneficial tasks. And they are safer while they are doing them. Innovation can be embraced in places where automation is used because workers are planning ahead on how to maximize their products and the equipment used to make them. That fact likely will be enriching to them as well as the company.
Manufacturing automation companies are thriving as businesses across the country begin to capitalize on the concept of automation in the production space. Any business owner should consider the benefits of automation and its possible part on future improvements.