Here at CCL we play a massive role in helping customers make a reality of their automation plans, whether that be in a factory, manufacturing, processing or warehouse environment.
Conveyor systems can play an integral part in a fully or semi automated process, but the question that often arises is whether or not such an investment/initial outlay is worth the time and investment in the first place?
Automation clearly plays a big role in loosening the dependancy on labour and other associated costs, but it is not something to rush into, it needs to be integrated correctly in the right situation.
Are you accounting for, and considering system maintenance? Are you planning for any loss in flexibility that a new automated system may introduce?
Every situation is unique but decision making should properly consider the size of the project and environment, distribution patterns and also the availability of labour.
Where is your market and company projected to be in the next 3, 4, or 5 years? Have you looked at how your labor force operates within your environment, have time and motion studies occurred to ensure that you really are going to get a good return on your investment?
Usually these kind of considerations have been given some thought when we at CCL become involved, and based on our own experience we can share the types of benefit your investment can help secure, these include:
An increase in speed and efficiency in production
Safety - this is often cited as the most important benefit by workers themselves
A recent article from McKinsey & Company discussed the investing into integrated solutions re materials handling, may be an effective strategy to future-proofing your business.
We also find that an investment into automation with conveyor systems brings with it a sense of optimism for the future, it heralds a new start (often accompanying a new line or launch), and gives companies and colleagues a fresh perspective/impetus, which is certainly positive for business.
So to revert to the question of this weeks blog, is automation worth the investment? In our experience of working with companies on conveyor systems over many years it would have to be a yes, albeit with a caveat or 2.
Do your homework, work with companies who have a proven track record in this area, and ask lots of questions before coming to a definite way forward. It will pay dividends if you do so. The decision should be considered, the execution should be swift.
As always feel free to get in touch with any questions regarding your project, we are only too happy to have an informal chat.