HomeIoTAutomation will not be a Silver Bullet

Automation will not be a Silver Bullet

April 5, 2022

Supply: Jon M. Quigley | Worth Transformation LLC

There isn’t any silver bullet.

Companies are continually underneath price pressures, this consists of manufacturing.  Materials and labor price generally is a vital price within the product.  We use worth engineering strategies to make sure that materials prices are as little as we will whereas nonetheless assembly the efficiency and high quality aims of the client and the group.  Moreover the labor prices, automation can enhance high quality.  I shake after I hear individuals use the phrases at all times and by no means.  Individuals are not that repeatable; automation can result in a really repeatable final result if accomplished appropriately.

Automation is normally not an all or nothing proposition.  It’s attainable to automate a few of our manufacturing line and nonetheless require individuals in help of the manufacturing line.  The extent of funding to automate balanced in opposition to the extent of human expertise out there to maintain the manufacturing line working.  Up entrance funding of capital, juxtaposed in opposition to hourly price to work the road, and each typically exist. That’s the place issues can grow to be tough.  We could imagine that automation is the savior for decreasing the related labor prices, however until the road is absolutely automated, we’ll nonetheless have individuals working the road.  This will current some challenges.

Trendy traces are usually not solely automated, however also can carry out the measurements, not simply on a number of the elements, however all of the elements and mechanically.  This reduces the cognitive and bodily load upon the workforce members. That is maybe a very good factor, however doesn’t assist relating to participating the workforce.  I’ve heard managers say simply this, and is among the causes for writing.

Have you ever ever been a part of a workforce? I don’t imply what most discuss with as workforce, however these uncommon occurrences after we are totally engaged and extra importantly, so too our workforce mates.  When you have had these uncommon moments, you perceive the ability of workforce engagement.  A enterprise makes progress not by means of know-how, however by means of the creativity and expertise of the workforce members.  It takes this stuff to find out one of the best strategy to automation.  No downside right here.  Nonetheless, what occurs to the extent of engagement for these remaining on the manufacturing line?  I’ve been considering worker engagement for years now, a very good place to view worker engagement over time, is the Gallup Office Engagement.  I’ve been following this ballot for a few years, and a few of that is fairly scary.  Their ballot breaks down into the three classes under[1]

  1. Engaged – work with ardour and emotionally hooked up to group. Producing new concepts and constant efficiency to maneuver the group ahead.
  2. Not engaged – put their time in, however no ardour or power into their work.
  3. Actively disengaged – sad and resentful, they unfold negativity throughout the group.

Lack of engagement limits the out there creativity and expertise; this isn’t the best way to steady enchancment or aggressive benefit. 

Group members do not need the identical demand for his or her consideration on the manufacturing line as these traces which are largely guide.  This discount of deal with the manufacturing line must be a very good factor in that it supplies time for our workforce to discover different enhancements and inventive concepts.  But in discussions with managers of producing traces we discover that conserving the workforce engaged to be tough.  Lowered stress resulting from a excessive diploma of deal with the road, ought to make it attainable to enhance the group at massive.  It’s in all people’s greatest curiosity to search out methods to have interaction our workforce members past the main focus of the automated manufacturing line.

It isn’t in our organizations greatest curiosity and longevity to have unmotivated expertise.  The extent of automation of the manufacturing line could place limits the quantity of workforce engagement sustaining a producing line.  If the road will not be extensively automated, we could possibly enhance it by means of the creativity and expertise of our workforce, engagement.  If we will enhance the road, we will use a number of strategies and develop a tradition of steady enchancment fixed studying.  If the road automation is critical however not solely, we will focus the expertise supporting the road on different areas of the group.

  1. Operations enchancment (logistics)
  2. Course of enchancment
  3. High quality enchancment
  4. Worth Stream Mapping
  5. Worth Engineering (or different product / course of price enchancment)

The strategy needn’t be any of those, or some other formal regiment. The purpose is to discover a motivating goal, and develop an setting that won’t solely permit, however worth workforce exploration and studying.  In truth, there are good arguments for moderating the formalism, making simpler for the workforce to discover alternate options.  If elevated engagement could be obtained by means of some home-grown strategy that would be the greatest resolution.

Competitors doesn’t finish as a result of now we have automated our manufacturing line.  True rivals are continually striving to enhancing.  Growing a line that balances the capital funding together with the labor burden at time t=0 (begin of producing) doesn’t essentially imply the tip enhancements.  This can be a reality to which suppliers to the automotive Authentic Tools Manufacturing (OEMs) are all too conscious.  From expertise, OEMs go to their tier 1 suppliers and “request” price reductions yearly.  Additionally from expertise, these decreases in sale value are sometimes contractual obligations.  Even when the manufacturing runs are 10 or extra years lengthy with little or no extra investments put up launch.  Steady enchancment doesn’t finish when now we have automated the road.  Creativity doesn’t come from automation, however from our workforce and steady exploration.  The on-going concern is greatest served not by means of an over reliance on automation, however the expertise, creativity, fixed studying, and engagement of the workforce members.  Not apathy.

Jon M. Quigley PMP (204278) CTFL is a principal and founding member of Worth Transformation, a product improvement (from thought to product retirement) and value enchancment group established in 2009. Jon has an Engineering Diploma from the College of North Carolina at Charlotte, and two grasp’s Levels from the Metropolis College of Seattle in addition to two globally acknowledged certifications. Jon has greater than thirty years of product improvement and manufacturing expertise, starting from embedded {hardware} and software program by means of verification and course of and mission administration. Jon has received awards such because the Volvo-3P Technical Award in 2005 happening to win the 2006 Volvo Expertise Award.


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