Step 1: Get company-wide supportGetting executive buy-in will ensure smooth allocation of capital and manpower to implement robotics. It can be tough to convince operators that robots aren’t coming for their jobs, so review the operators’ least favorite tasks and target those for automation. When involved from the start, operators will be more engaged about the technology.
Step 2: Define success
Robots perform tasks faster, operate without a break, and run 24/7. Additional throughput can lead to more product, revenue, and profit. Precision and repeatability can improve processes, reducing defects, scrap/waste, and rework. Quantifying the cost of worker safety is not as easy, however eliminating repetitive, strenuous operations can reduce injuries.
Step 3: BudgetingWhen calculating return on investment (ROI), consider: • Fully burdened operator cost per hour • Shifts per day, employees per shift • Post-automation estimated required headcount • Additional revenue from increased throughput • Cost reduction from improved quality • Estimated cost of robotic solution
Step 4: Gradual implementation
Define and complete the first project before attempting an additional one. Understanding the time, money, and people required is key. Jumping too quickly can slow robotic adoption as an overwhelmed staff will look at automation as a burden rather than a profit center. Target the easiest solution to implement first and tackle more complex projects as you learn.
Step 5: Implement training
Train operators, managers, and maintenance crew to ensure the system runs smoothly after installation and startup. It’s a small investment with a very high ROI.