Food manufacturing is an industry known for its slim margins – any competitive advantage over another company is significant to a business’s success, and automation has largely been seen as the future of the industry. With increases in productivity, efficiency, and quality, automation has everything that your business needs to stay ahead of the game.
What’s the catch?
While automation provides businesses with an ROI approximately within two years of purchase, the cost of each machine can be prohibitive. Even as manufacturing businesses like ours keep costs to a minimum without sacrificing the quality, some production facilities will only be able to assemble a fully automated production line piecemeal, rather than all at once.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t begin seeing the benefits that food automation has to offer right away. Even a production line with some automation can give you a competitive advantage over your competition. This blog will serve as a guide for manufacturers that are looking for the next step after they begin implementing automation.
How Do I Get Started With Food Automation?
Starting and growing your automation should examine the issue from a bottom-up approach. Focus on the weakest links in your pipeline first. Where is the most time being wasted? Where are bottlenecks emerging? What needs to be done to resolve this?
The Pareto principle states that 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes. With this in mind, there is probably a portion of your production line that is the most in need of fixing, and resolving this will free up a great deal of manpower, reduce waste, increase efficiency, or provide any other number of benefits. Whether you are aware of it or not, your employees likely know exactly where the most time is being wasted.
Automation in food production is an easy way to resolve problems in the food manufacturing industry.
How Do I Build Out My Food Automation Production Line?
For manufacturers that are looking to assemble an automated food production line over a period of time rather than all at once, the best method forward is through observation. Once you have resolved the biggest problem in a food production pipeline, new issues in the pipeline that already existed will reveal themselves more clearly.
Take a calculated approach to the way that you approach manufacturing. Manufacturers with high turnover, for instance, might consider a part of their assembly line that is staffed by the highest number of people. Turnover is a major concern in food manufacturing, but of equal concern is the fear that automation will replace all jobs and leave thousands unemployed. By replacing that component with automation, the number of staff needed can naturally decrease, and resources can be allocated to ensure that the staff on hand is having their needs met, along with training that makes them more skilled and valuable to your organization.
As machines age, they become more prone to breakdowns, leading to unexpected downtime. This is a form of waste that can cost your food manufacturing business millions of dollars over the course of several years, as it halts production entirely. As parts of your production line become obsolete, replace them with technology that is built to last.
Competitive Advantage of Automation in Food Manufacturing
What is your long-term plan for your food manufacturing business? The largest manufacturers are already embracing fully automated setups for their entire production line, and staff mainly exists to help maintain and operate those machines. While this might be your ultimate goal, your short-term objectives should center around finding the weakest links in your manufacturing, and replacing them with automation.
Automation is expensive, but the results pay for themselves quickly. One way to grow your food manufacturing business into automation is to follow this cycle:
- Find the weakest part of your manufacturing line, and replace it with automation
- Track the results. What new problems emerge once the main problem has been resolved?
- Once the problem has been identified, replace that part with automation. Repeat until your goals have been met.
Quantum Technical Services: Effective and Affordable Food Automation
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is: where do I get started with food automation, and how do I grow it into my business?
At Quantum Technical Services, we can help. We build high quality automation at prices that are affordable for manufacturers, and have the experience and expertise to help implement automation into your business. Contact us today for more information about our product and services!