We have to live with covid-19 until a successful vaccine comes to life. Until then social distancing has become the new norm. Factories need less people ensuring contact less delivery.
It is becoming fashionable to talk about automation now.
Tomorrow, if covid and social distancing goes away, I don’t think these companies will stop using automation. The realisations are well beyond social distancing and migrant labour issues — the realisation that this how things are going to go in the future. We need to have a good trigger to say let’s make it happen.
The first two phases are Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and automation of systems and software which are utilized in design or in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining. These are the low hanging fruit — more easily understandable to most of the businesses . Lot of systems are now available at low cost. subsequent phase is Industry 4.0 where machines are seamlessly connected. this is often within the initial stages in most companies including us. One must do that not only because it’s bringing during a lot of efficiency, removing human errors and streamlining the system, but also due to what the planet is asking today in terms of liability issues; around traceability.
If you’ve got digital records, it’s easy to trace things down. While many companies would really like to adopt Industry 4.0 principles, it’s still a challenge because one doesn’t know at what size one must do it; one doesn’t know when it gives you a payback; one also doesn’t skills to form the paradigm shift within the team you’re working with because they’re so wont to working during a legacy manner. New companies would really like to adopt the principles from day one whereas legacy companies will roll in the hay in phases. We did it during a new plant and decided to not roll in the hay in our older plants. The new plant had younger people and therefore the idea was to make a replacement culture.