According to a recent McKinsey & Company article where thousands of businesses were surveyed about automation (including robot automation, AI and more,) it is clear that automation is growing and not just due to COVID-19.
Two-thirds of respondents say their organizations are at least piloting the automation of business processes in one or more business units or functions, compared with 57 percent who said so in the previous survey. (See photo below)
While filling the skills gap is certainly a factor in the decision to automate, we also see that there are several elements involved for success that go hand in hand with bringing in automation. You may be surprised to see a person-focused effort in the top of that list. This supports what we have said for years, which is that collaborative robots empower employees by focusing on more value-added tasks while the robots eliminate the dull, dirty, and dangerous.
Sixty-five percent of the survey respondents at smaller companies report success with automation, compared with 55 percent at large organizations. While the smaller companies meeting their automation targets exhibit several of the same success factors as successful large organizations, one additional factor appears to be a marker of success for smaller organizations.
This means there is a place for automation in the small businesses sector. What is key is assessing your needs from the beginning and ensuring you are hiring a systems integrator who can make the proper recommendations, install everything for you, and like us, train your staff.
Here are some factors to consider in assessing your collaborative robot needs:
- How familiar are you with cobots? What is your knowledge level?
- Does your company utilize cobots/robots currently?
- What type of equipment are you looking to automate?
- How many shifts per day does the equipment operate?
- How many days per week does the equipment operate?
- How many machinists do you currently have?
- Do your machinists or operators run more than one machine?
Larger companies that are meeting their automation targets say they focus on the following together for success:
1. Make automation a strategic priority
Aligning the automation strategy with the overall business strategy and placing automation high on the C-suite agenda is important.
2. Focus on people as much as technology
Identify employee training (which Fusion offers) and capability building as one of the primary reasons for their organization’s automation success. Successful organizations also gather individuals’ expertise and embed it in the design of automation solutions. It’s so important to include your machinists and machine shop managers in the evaluation, design and install process.
3. Develop an operating model that enables scaling
Coordination across business units or functions is one of the elements that will have the greatest influence on automation efforts’ outcomes in the coming years
In summary the two main takeaways from the survey are:
1. Identify and focus on the most critical business processes. As organizations think about incorporating automation, they should identify the processes that, if automated, will best support their strategy.
2. Invest in people and new ways of working. Companies should view automation as a way to enhance human productivity, rather than a way to replace manual labor. Implementing automation programs typically requires creation of new roles as well as modification of existing ones. That calls for a well-engineered talent-management and reskilling program. Or by hiring a systems integrator like us, we can take care of installing and training your staff so they are confident in using your new investment. We also allow for remote support after installation if you should run into any snafus.
Source: McKinsey & Company – The imperatives for automation success – August 25, 2020 | Survey