As the pandemic sweeps across the globe, a large number of businesses are at risk, with many experiencing shocks in both supply and demand. Shop floors in manufacturing are starting to adapt to a new world. Trends over the past few months are now indicating key attributes that will define the shopfloor as the world recovers from the pandemic.:
Social Distancing at work place – It goes without saying that the critical focus for any organization is to keep its employees safe. Maintaining a safe distance between employees at all time is a key tenet. As a result, organizations have to reduce the number of people who can be on the shop floor at the same time.
Enhancing Productivity: With a reduced workforce, sustaining and enhancing productivity levels is key to ensuring that the organization is able to meet its market demand. Else it faces the risk of losing market share.
Managing Workforce Disruptions: Infections are on the rise and will continue to strike in waves over time. There is no vaccine in sight and that makes people vulnerable and fearful. Migrant workers are unlikely to return unless they see some return to normalcy. Besides, with a 2nd and 3rd wave, it is difficult to predict when, if ever, will an organization see a stable workforce. It has to prepare itself for this uncertainty and build resilience in its manufacturing set up
Adapting to the New Normal: Organizations have to devise ways to insulate themselves against such future shocks. Part of this involves building a shop floor infrastructure that allows them to navigate through known risks. And the risk of a future pandemic is now real, although we do not know what shape it may take.
A crisis like this throws up multiple challenges. The ability to look through these and spot opportunities is a key management ask. Creating and executing a strategy to build on these opportunities is what will determine how whether an organization will come out stronger or weaker from the crisis.
Several industry leaders are utilizing this time efficiently to study and analyze the possibility of adopting solutions for appropriate tasks within their manufacturing facility. There is no clarity on how long the pandemic will last, but an automated operation will continue through any kind of disruption in the future. Moreover, to compete globally for the supply of quality components its high time we adopt such manufacturing technologies and utilize our human capital for development and innovations.
Reinventing the shop floor
Industrial automation paves new ways for machines and humans to collaborate thereby increasing efficiency and simultaneously driving down complexity and overhead costs. To stay ahead of the curve during challenging times as these and to immunize your production floor from future uncertainties it is important that we start thinking about where-and how much- to automate while extracting the maximum value over the long-term.
Moreover, recent technological advancements have helped overcome many of the traditional limitations of robotics & automation. A new generation of robots that are more flexible, versatile and affordable can be adopted and trained by the frontline staff to perform more complex tasks consistently.
Key considerations while planning to automate:
- Technical feasibility of Automation
- Fixed vs Flexible Automation
- Improvements in Efficiency and Quality as a result of Automation
- Return on Investment weighing Benefits against Cost
History shows us that those who adapt themselves around disruptions are the architects of the future. For a country like India to be ‘Atmanirbhar’ or self-reliant, it is key that our approach to production evolves to realize benefits from the large untapped potential of automating tasks that are repetitive, dangerous and non-value added. Numerous studies have pointed at increased adoption of automation as a way to stay competitive and relevant.
At Systemantics, we indigenously design and manufacture industrial robotic arms that will enable widespread adoption of flexible automation. Our flagship products ASYSTR 610 and ASYSTR 602 are innovatively designed, easy to use, Industry 4.0 ready and are available at highly competitive price points. We are constantly driving to make robots that bring great value to the shop floor with our innovations, technology and support.