While we all know that “Automation’s here, AI isn’t Dangerous, Industrial Revolution With Humans & Robots and Other Myths You Need to Beware to Stay Successful in 2019” and that “Manufacturing Automation is Moving Into the Future, and Humans are Still Involved” what most companies are unaware of is how to begin this process and where to look for help. Many different outlets can assist you with automation that is free to use. I utilize automation email newsletters from preferred suppliers, articles from automation magazines, major publications in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, and even in places you would not think would be data rich in City Council meetings and manufacturing groups, to get as much information on the changes in the automation industry as possible. While you should still look into the best route for yourself, the following list is an excellent basis to run off of to begin your manufacturings automation journey. First and foremost, find one to two professionals your trust in the field of automation. Having quality industrial, mechanical, and electrical engineers is a prominent commodity for a business, but having automation experts on staff is needed in this evolving world of technology. Dedicating a position or two to the automation field is worthwhile for it helps bring education and reasoning into the world of innovation. While your team of engineers may be the brightest individuals in the world, they are still experts of their fields and are not necessarily up to date with the industry, especially if they are working on projects set in specific niches or sectors. Find some automation experts you trust and keep them on staff finding ways of improvement wherever possible. Second, get educated in YOUR industry’s technology. Before you even attempt to talk to an automation firm, it is a good idea to get some form of content related to the new technologies of your industry. This way you are better prepared to speak on the subject, you will know if a company is blowing smoke or throwing fire, and you will be able to see if custom machine design is needed or if the integration of existing technology by a qualified professional is the better route for your business to take. Be sure to stay up to date on all of your factory automation technology and innovations of the industry. Third, think of possible problem areas or areas where automation solutions could fit into your current manufacturing. Since your business may not be ready for full automation, at this point, it is a good idea to think of bottleneck areas that may be present within your production. There may be a hazardous or dangerous job that is creating more health issues or workers compensation claims, or maybe just an area where you would like to free up a worker for another task instead of the job they are currently performing. While we all want to believe that the process put in place by the business is the best fit, more often than not there are areas that can be improved or reworked for higher quality production and throughput. Having these problem areas in mind will help in deciding what automation makes sense now and what can wait. Fourth, Have an analysis conducted on your production process. The best way to start the process of automation is to have an automation analysis performed on your manufacturing or production. This does not necessarily have to be on the entire process of production(remember the bottleneck ideas you need to be thinking of), in fact, automation can be best utilized segmented and intertwined with technologies like collaborative robots and machine vision. One of the things we do over at Engineered Vision is perform what we call a FAAS or Factory Application Analysis Summary. The FAAS is a fancy word for a ROM(Rough Order of Magnitude), and custom created 3d CAD design. Having an estimated project analysis completed will give a more detailed idea of how automation can help your process, especially when it comes to custom machine design. Fifth and maybe most important, Be Open to Change. It is hard to change our production, even more so when it has been done for years, and its way of working has benefitted your business economically. However, that is never how businesses survive and continue to thrive in their respective industries. Change needs to be accepted, and it needs to be understood. A recent Forbes article published May, 7th, 2019 Named “The Future of Work: The Rise of Workers Who Self Automate Their Jobs” touched on this subject and found a study from McKinsey & Company that states “roughly 30 percent of the activities in 60 percent of all occupations could be automated.” Automation is not only going to affect the blue collar workers of this world but also the white, pink, gold, red, and everything in between. Being open to new tasks and functions within a business is necessary for ALL employees, not just the laborers. Sixth, Start Slow and Change Speeds Accordingly. You may find that there is only one process or part of the production that requires automation, and if this one part of the production became automated, you could increase your throughput. If that is the case, then by all means only automate what makes sense at the time. There will come a time; however, that more needs to be automated, and it is always a wise decision to automate BEFORE HAVING to automate due to the competition. Maintain innovation where it makes sense and be sure to step on the gas when the time is right; it may very well be the deciding factor between thriving and surviving. Seventh and final, talk it over with an expert. The only way you are going to figure out what is best for your business at this moment in time or later down the road is to talk it over with an expert. Lucky for you, an expert wrote this article 😉 so reach out here on LinkedIn or send me an email, and we can chat. However, in all seriousness, find someone to talk to who knows what they are talking about and are up to date on the latest and greatest. Before anything I want companies to succeed, the more I can educate individuals on their industry, the better. feel free to reach out and connect, I am always open for a discussion and networking chat. Don’t want to talk to me? That’s fine too, but please speak with an expert before it is too late! Automation shouldn’t feel like a trap or a never-ending change that equals a money burner. The only way to see the possibilities are to be open to changing how you think of your production. While an outside eye may advise solutions that have not been in your business for the last 30 years, what they propose may create a new revenue stream or expand on existing throughput capacity. Change can be hard, but changing to catch up in today’s business world is near impossible without converting to newer technologies and ideas. Engineered Vision strives to educate as many businesses as possible about the wonders of automation and the technologies that shape industries into the future. If you would like more information on automation in your industry or want to chat about technology and the future send me a message or check out https://engineered-vision.com today!