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Arguments That Shouldn’t Hold You Back from Automating your Manufacturing 

Posted on December 1, 2023
Arguments That Shouldn’t Hold You Back From Automating Your Manufacturing 

 

At DEVELOP LLC, we aren’t afraid to tell you that there are real risks to investing in a custom automation integration project. A responsibly scoped automation project can take years to plan and integrate into your manufacturing process and capital expenditure can easily hit six or seven figures. An ineffective integration performed without a skilled integrator can set back your production, damage morale, break customer agreements, and saddle you with debt. We pride ourselves on leveraging our expertise for open, honest, and responsible communication. We appreciate that every integration is different and even the lowest risk integrations come with some custom parts, software, and targeted scoping. We also pride ourselves on answering the most common arguments that shouldn’t hold you back from investing in automating your manufacturing processes. 

 

“I don’t want to tamper with a working formula.” 

 

When caution starts drifting into loss aversion, you embrace one of the most toxic impulses to business sustainability. Some owners even call it the ‘magic formula’. ‘Magic formula’ turns the gratitude you feel for the security you’ve attained, the innovation you pioneered, and the risks you overcame into an insult toward the sacrifices you’ve made, the hard work of your labor force, and the sound judgement you needed to grow your business.  

Why are you even getting asked the question about ‘changing the formula’ if the formula is perfect? If the question is getting asked, that’s a sign you should. There is no perfect formula. There are no plans that last forever. There are mountains of stories of industry leaders, brand makers, and technology innovators usurped by competitors out of loss aversion behavior.  

Instead of trusting in formulas, you should create foundations for your business. Custom automation integrations are a foundation you can build your business on. Chances are, you’re asking this yourself. A person you trust asked you this question. Trust that person.  

 

“Why should I take an unproven risk?” 

 

There are no guarantees in business. You knew this when you started your company. A person who starts a business understands that the time, money, and effort they put into a new business can come to nothing. Risk is hard baked into founding a company and every time you grow you have to evaluate, overcome, and adopt new risks to maintain your competitive advantage. 

Believe in arming yourself against risk. You had no guarantees when you started your business, but you trusted innovation, hard work, good judgement, and industry expertise would gain enough competitive advantage to mitigate those risks. If you didn’t know the answer, you gathered experts, consultants, specialists, and trusted confidants to answer those questions and guide your decisions. When rapid growth meant you couldn’t do it all, you delegated to trusted allies, loyal employees, and industry professionals.  

Delegate your custom automation integration solution to DEVELOP LLC. We’ve guided dozens of customers through first time custom machine integrations. We know how to scope your business, target processes, and translate that into a machine that runs your process safer, faster, and more consistently while reaching a higher level of competition. We can demonstrate the manufacturing automation track record for tackling labor shortages considerately and constructively, industry adoption, and improving productivity. 

 

“We have traditional manufacturing values for our business.” 

 

We see this argument a lot in multi-generational businesses. This statement shackles companies to erroneous implications that manual labor is better for their employees, that there is an unstated social contract made that can’t be broken, and by not changing the business they are modeling the success the business was founded on. All three of these implications are wrong. 

The ideal targets for automation in your manufacturing processes are the jobs that are dangerous, repetitive, unsatisfying, highest turnover, and least desirable. Custom automation integration can eliminate the need for your workforce to grind on these jobs and open the opportunity to redirect them towards more satisfying and growth empowering work. Custom automation integrations improve and augment the work environment for your labor force.  

Maintaining culture does have value, but a company has a higher responsibility to make the choices that sustain the business. Every manufacturing business is looking for methods to improve profit margins, generate sustainable growth, support their workforce, increase production capacity, plan production scaling, attract skilled workers, promote quality, reduce downtime, gain production speed, drop rework, and boost consistency. There are options you can adopt that might get you one or some of these benefits. A custom automated machine integration gets you all of these advantages. Ask yourself how many of your business traditions prevent you from pursuing improvements to your production. Whatever benefits you provide for your workforce will be meaningless if you no longer compete. If your values put your entire company behind the market, are they values? 

You’ve stopped modeling the success of your founder if you can’t take risks for your business. A business is founded on debt, cunning, and complete disrespect from competitors. The business practices that allowed your manufacturing to rise in the market were likely revolutionary, or at least exploiting an unforeseen need. The willingness to match skills, work ethic, and product quality against risk allowed your founder to thrive in a crowded market. The founder may have favored some specific business practices you’ve mistakenly elevated as traditions, but those traditions weren’t chosen because they were eternal. They were chosen because at the time they were better ideas than every other idea. If you choose to abandon an ineffective tradition for a newer, more effective, and more modern practice, you are really modeling your founder. 

 

“I can’t justify going into debt.” 

 

Behavioral finance theory describes the Disposition Effect, a backwards mentality where investors sell their winning assets and keep their losing assets. People dislike losing disproportionately more than they enjoy winning. Selling the winners generates quick explosive profit which companies claim as gains and wins, while they hold on to the weak performers out of a sunk cost mentality desperate to recoup the price and cost. The quick wins are reported strongly, while the losing assets aren’t acknowledged. This leads to an investment portfolio that nurtures poor investment and drives out lucrative investment. 

We’ve seen the disposition effect paralleled in resistance to automating industrial manufacturing. When taking a six figure capital expenditure that takes months or years for a full return at face value, it’s easy to understand why it feels more attractive to cling to manual manufacturing. It’s rare that a six-figure investment doesn’t require loans and debt. Doubt sets in. If a six-figure investment fails, it would take years to recover, you might lose your business, and there are always people waiting to call you a fool. Even when the old process is falling behind, once upon a time it was profitable, maybe you can wait and see.  

At DEVELOP LLC, we guarantee investing in automation integration is worth the risk. We will show you how to make the swiftest return on your investment, we will show you how to reap the benefits in the long term, and we will keep you from making poor decisions in the integration process. There will always be risks, but teaming up with a skilled automation integrator will guide you to the surest path to success. 

 

“I’m concerned about the optics of replacing our workers.” 

 

The goal of automating a process in your production isn’t to put workers out of a job. The ideal automated machine takes on the dirty, dangerous, and difficult jobs in your manufacturing process. These jobs have the highest turnover, the lowest job satisfaction, and the least opportunities for advancement. There is a job crisis in manufacturing that has been magnified by the aftermath of the pandemic. Direct your focus toward choices that make your employment openings attractive to prospective hires. The longer these types of manual jobs remain as part of your production, the lower your employee retention. Transforming these processes improves your work environment for everyone in your manufacturing, not just the process. A skilled automation integrator will make opportunities for advancement and worker redirection as a part of the workforce engagement integration portion of the scope of work. 

 

“I understand the advantages on paper, but it’s too complicated for my business.” 

 

At DEVELOP LLC we recommend even for seasoned automated manufacturers that you partner with a skilled custom automation integrator. There are variables of placement, scope, throughput, parts, machine targets and costs that need to be calculated. Even an integration that uses a standard machine or robot requires some amount of custom parts, engineering, and software. Done right, the advantages are clear. Take the ambiguity out of your plan and choose DEVELOP LLC. Tell us more about your project, schedule a virtual meeting, or call (262)-622-6104 and let us show you the potential of your manufacturing with automated solutions.  

 

 

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