Automation is expensive. But the initial price tag doesn’t make it a bad investment. And it’s not about the price, it’s about the return on investment (ROI). What costs can you cross out and how does the new automation affect efficiency and quality? Questions like these need answers before you start trying to get the price tag down.
Work with an automation partner who can demonstrate profitability and calculate the ROI. This will justify the investment and make the decision easier. It (usually) takes less time to recoup the investment than you think.
Automating the entire flow requires huge steps. Some steps may even be better (and cheaper) to continue to do manually. There is no point in doing more than necessary.
Find out which steps can be automated and what impact this would have. Apply the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle); automating 20% of the flow gives 80% of the result. Find the key processes and start small. You can always develop, expand and adjust along the way.
Offering your customers an optimal product flow is of course important. Maybe even crucial – But at what cost? Investing in automation for a customer-specific flow can be very expensive. If the customer doesn’t have time to wait or has already started looking for a new logistics provider, you could find yourself in a bad situation.
You don’t want to end up with a heavy investment that suddenly doesn’t pay off. Try finding solutions that can be used for multiple customers. If you still have to be customer-specific, be clear that it’s a long-term approach from both sides. A longer agreement can provide the right security for both parties.
Is there a flow or a step that is not working properly? Automation is not a quick fix. Of course, it’s good to be invested, and that can sometimes work out well – but don’t be afraid to change your mind and consider your options.
Starting from scratch can be the best way to move away from old problems and towards a more profitable production. An experienced automation partner can bring fresh air and a new perspective.