There are a handful of common mistakes that companies make when they upgrade their automation technology. They can make the difference between increased efficiency, production, and savings and playing catch-up as machines need to be replaced. These include:

  • 1: FOCUSING ON THE PROBLEM, NOT STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
    • The most common mistake made in automation projects is one we all make in our personal lives or in business decisions — we spend too much time dealing with the issues that are counter-productive to our goals and strategic objectives.

In this case, money is being spent to fix or replace obsolete hardware and software, which limits a company’s ability to grow. By spending money on hardware and software that not only solves immediate problems, but allows for growth, a company can develop over time rather than making equivalent replacements as problems arise.

  • 2: FAILING TO INCLUDE ALL ASPECTS OF BUSINESS IN PROJECT
    • Many organizations put initiatives in place to optimize manufacturing operations in order to gain efficiency or reduce costs.

Failing to include all aspects of business in a project happens all too often. A company might look to increase production or increase efficiency in production or save money, selecting systems that fit the immediate need, but don’t fit in with the business goals as a whole. Rather than replacing individual parts of the production process, the entire process should be taken into account in order to develop a strategy and integrate technologies that will function the best as a whole.

  • 3: FOCUS ON RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI) RATHER THAN NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV)
      • Historically, capital expenditures have always had one key metric for the invest-or-save decision — return on investment calculation.

    Typically, Return on Investment (ROI) is the key factor in whether or not an investment in technology should be made. This, however, is not always the best strategy. While ROI is generally determined by how quickly a new technology will pay for itself, this doesn’t take into account other savings that may come with implementing this new technology. By looking into the savings implementing a new technology can create as well as the increases in production, a company can better justify making a capital investment.

    • 4: CHOOSING THE WRONG PARTNER
        • Manufacturing organizations have made the choice to use a consulting engineering firm or system integrator to spearhead the effort for upgrading their automation system.

      It’s normal to use a consulting firm to help implement or upgrade automation systems. The problem that most companies make when hiring these firms is to make sure the firm fits their needs. Making changes to an automation system is an important decision. The firm you hire to help you with this decision should be chosen the same way you would hire a doctor – making sure they have the expertise and experience to help you, as well as making sure they will be focused on you.

      If you are aware of these mistakes, it’s much easier to avoid them when making the decision to invest in your automation systems.

      To read more about these mistakes and how to avoid them, visit Manufacturing Business Technology.