Explaining the value of automation

With manufacturers investing in automation technologies and training employees to use and maintain them, it’s only natural that company executives would begin to ask what the value of all of this technology really is. Automation World’s David Greenfield asks the question, “As someone who’s responsible for automation at your company, do you know how the executives at your company view what you do?” He asks this because, although there has been a surge in investment in automation, there has not been a clear answer what to do with automation, or the information that comes from it.

The reality is that your company’s executives probably see what you do and the technologies you oversee as being a cost. Though this is not your fault—industry as a whole has come to view automation technology as an industry that exists principally for technology’s sake.

With automation comes information, and that information is currently being collected at a fast pace. But what is being done with it?

To bring things back to a true problem/solution mindset, Martin said it’s critical to realize that, as Einstein said, “information is not knowledge.” Capturing and storing data that is rarely, if ever, used is counterproductive and a symptom of an ill- thought-out automation system application. You have to realize—and be able to communicate— that automation “puts knowledge to work.”

Thankfully, this idea of putting knowledge to work is starting to happen more often as more companies—and automation suppliers—are focusing on technologies that deliver actionable intelligence to the operator where immediate decisions can be made to benefit the bottom line in real time.

By putting the information collected by automation technologies to use is the best way to show the value of automation technology. Reducing waste and increasing productivity and efficiency are always looked highly upon by executives.

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