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Why Automation is the New Mandate For Success

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we watched as more and more food plants and retail businesses had to shutter for days and even weeks because one or more employees tested positive for COVID. While of course these occurrences sounded the alarm about pandemic spread, they also rang a loud bell for the financial stability of any company having to shut down. For manufacturing companies and their clients, the cost of just one day of downtime is substantial, not just for dollars lost but for the lost opportunity costs associated with getting to market late and having to catch up with competitors.

According to MiQ Partners CEO Olaf Tessarzyk, our industry has to have the mindset that we will have another pandemic or setbacks like we did in 2020, and we must prepare accordingly. Relying on traditional methods for assembly and other manufacturing processes is a risk no business can take.

“Automation is the only sure method to maintain productivity as we embrace for more of the unknown,” says Tessarzyk. “We cannot think this is over, and that it won’t happen again. Those that maintain the status quo and are slow to embrace automation for assembly, packaging, shipping and more will struggle to make it to 2022. ” Tessarzyk continued, “Beyond the threat of quarantine and forced reduced capacity happening from another pandemic or an expected surge of new variants of Covid-19, we need to think about the ongoing challenges associated with labor pools.”

Consistency issues with the quality of human labor will and always will be an issue we face, regardless of pandemics or another storm that comes our way. The inability for a human work force to operate at the same levels as automatic robotic systems is causing wider gaps in productivity. To compete, companies need to produce at higher levels of output than human assembly can generate. It goes without saying that companies relying on human production simply will not be able to compete with companies relying on automation. This principle applies to any market conditions, pandemic restrictions or shutdowns, and so on.

Another reason companies need to embrace automation is the failure rate associated manual labor. Even a 1% failure rate can be costly beyond the dollar value of scrap and wasted labor inputs by losing precious revenue and competitiveness through go to market delays. When processes are automated, failure rates are substantially lower, and in many cases, eliminated altogether. This alone makes automation the difference between success and failure for getting products to market and keeping brands on top of their industries.

A frequently asked question is:

Does it cost more to hire a manufacturing team to build a custom automation production line for your next manufacturing project?

Depends on how you look at it. You will pay to develop the systems to produce your products, but in the long-term you will realize such lower unit costs and pro‑ t margins that there will be little if any comparison. According to MiQ VP of Operations, David Hummel, a key consideration for successful outcomes is assuring your team is not distracted by manual manufacturing challenges so they can focus on developing new projects and generations of products.

“By using a proven partner to develop your automation systems, product engineering teams can focus on keeping their companies on the cutting edge of innovation, which is equivalent to keeping them pro‑ table and sustainable,” states Hummel.
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