Tag Archives | Automation Roadmap

An automation roadmap is a mapped plan that combines engineering and the management of information, so that different systems can work effectively in every aspect such as cost of production, quality of products, safety of work, environment and ability to adjust production rates to respond to the demands of the market, administration and management.

How Safety Technology Can Increase Productivity

Elimination of physical barriers to production equipment is key to improving productivity. To get started, however, you must begin with a safety assessment.

valuesIn my last several blogs, I wrote about the importance of developing an Automation Roadmap and how to create one for yourself. I am wrapping up the sequence with two topics that often fall off the radar during planning—your network infrastructure and safety. In my last blog, I went into detail about the network side of things. This blog addresses the importance of considering safety at the planning stage.

Manufacturing processes and operational intelligence have benefitted from the rapid advance of technology. Safety has, too. Historically, the most common way to safeguard workers in and around manufacturing equipment was to provide physical barriers between workers and operating equipment. While this type of safety system both provides for safe operation and maintenance as well as meets the appropriate codes, it limits productivity. Continue Reading →

Automation Roadmap: Assessing Your Network Architecture

To facilitate efficient and cost-effective process improvement, your network architecture needs to be thoughtfully planned out, not just patched together.

By now, you know you want to create an automation roadmap that aligns with corporate goals, which typically center on production, efficiency or quality gains. In my last couple of blogs (accessible here and here), I provided a structured approach to developing your automation roadmap, which generates a nice list of projects, in order of priority, accompanied by budget and timeline considerations. But before you make your way to the corporate offices to garner budget approval, there are a couple of additional considerations that will add the finishing touches to your automation roadmap: network architecture and safety. In this post I’ll address network architecture; next month I will address safety. Continue Reading →

An ROI Approach to Budgeting

results-productionDetailed evaluation of anticipated return on investment for each prioritized project helps gain project approval and maximize project results.

In my last two blogs, I discussed the importance of an automation roadmap and how to get started developing one. Hopefully, you’ve created a prioritized list of potential projects and are now ready to tackle how to budget for them.

Many people seem to think that in order to establish a budget, they need to develop a spec, reach out to vendors and conduct a formal Request for Quotation (RFQ) process. All of this takes a lot of time and energy, so I hope it is welcome news that I do not recommend this approach. Rather, look at it from a Return on Investment (ROI) perspective.

What payback period does your company expect on each investment? A two-year ROI seems to be an undocumented industry standard, but each company will have its own. Meeting or beating that payback timeline is typically important for project approval. Continue Reading →

Creating a Prioritized List for Your Automation Roadmap

Identify where existing capabilities are furthest from aligning with what will be needed to achieve business and production goals.

In my last blog, I urged manufacturers to establish an “automation roadmap” to help plan and prioritize technological upgrades over a set period of time.

As I travel and talk to customers, I am encouraged to hear that more and more folks are doing exactly this. Manufacturers, in general, understand how technology can boost quality, efficiency and production in their plants. And many of them are realizing the value of proactively deploying new technologies as they emerge. Maximizing these returns is what the automation roadmap is about.

With so many folks catching on, the chances are your competition has an automation roadmap in place, regardless of whether you have one or not. And simply put, if they have one and you don’t, you’re in danger of being outpaced.

No one wants to be left behind, so read on to learn how to get started.
Continue Reading →

Don’t Just React to Problems, Get an Automation Roadmap

Gain process reliability and leverage emerging technologies by understanding your operations, processes, threats and opportunities.

Do you have a three- to five-year automation roadmap for your manufacturing operation? If not, I urge you to establish one. Regardless of the state of your plant today, there is value in going through the process.

If your facility is outdated and struggling, the benefits are obvious. But even if you run the highest tech facility around, it’s helpful to consider emerging technologies and how you might apply them down the road. Creating a roadmap to do this is a matter of understanding your operation, your processes and the threats and opportunities you face.

For most manufacturers, the reason they haven’t done this is that they get stuck in a reactive mode. Something breaks, so they fix it. In and of itself, of course, that’s necessary. The problem is when you do not address why things break, and all you ever do is fix things. As equipment ages, the breakdowns become more frequent. The fixes become harder. They take longer. Access to spare parts becomes increasingly limited. Valuable production time is lost every time. Continue Reading →