How to Begin Automating Manufacturing Processes in 5 Steps

Automating manufacturing processes can meet you where you are and take you where you want to be. The labor shortage on a line can be solved with a few robots to assist your team. A modular assembly system can take a five-person operation and make it a one or two-person job. An intuitive transport robot can replace a forklift to create a safer work environment without extra installations. Do you need consistency in quality and speed for a particular component? No problem.

Someday your entire manufacturing facility could run on conveyors and robots. Could we do that now? Yes! Robotic automation has progressed all the way to robots building robots. But that may not be the solution to begin with. So how do you start automating manufacturing processes with where you are right now? I think we can help with that.

How to Begin Automating Manufacturing Processes in 5 Steps

1. Identify the pain points in your current manufacturing process

This is probably an obvious step number one. What is it that’s a constant headache in your process? Labor? Consistency? Quality? Safety?

Get specific. Your pain points likely won’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s a good idea to get as detailed as you can when exploring the reasons for process issues.

2. Ask if automating processes could solve this issue for you in a sustainable outcome

The hardest part of getting started can be the number crunching. We tried to make it easy for you – check out our Return on Investment (ROI) calculator for a place to start with a specific operation.

Your finance department will want to see ROI as quickly as possible. We typically see 1-3 years requested for full payback.

3. Ask for help

Do we want your business? Naturally. But we also want the right solution for you. Sometimes that isn’t us. To get you on the right track, we don’t believe you should be charged for asking questions. You should be able to discuss your issues over the phone, Zoom, email or whichever communication platform you prefer. If it seems like there could be help, going onsite is the next logical step.

A great way to get an accurate assessment is to video or document your current process from start to finish. Get a non-disclosure agreement signed, and you’ll be safe to share your processes.

4. Get estimates

Shopping around is a good strategy – But make sure you do your research. How long has the company been in business? How long have their machines been running? What types of materials are being used?

The best price rarely translates to the best quality or the best solution. This isn’t a pitch to make you spend more money – it’s a pitch to help save you money and frustration in the long run.

5. Choosing an Automation company

Trust the process. But only if the process includes your opinions.

Good partnerships are based on trust. Do they understand what you’re asking for? Do you trust them to deliver? Open lines of communication are crucial to project success. Here are three qualities you should expect from an automation company. Being informed of the status of your build at each level and reviewing the machine in-person before it ships to your floor is a necessity. It’s also important to know what kind of post-production support you require and if they can meet those expectations.

Look at case studies and ask for examples of past work. They may not be able to give you specific details due to proprietary information but they can give you information on the process itself.