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Is Automation an Opportunity?

on March 1, 2019

Does your local Walmart or grocery store utilize self-checkouts? Do you remember when they were first introduced? Was it a big deal?

For many the introduction of any new technology is a big deal. A friend of ESE commented that when he visited his parents in rural Wisconsin that the recent introduction of self-checkouts at their local Walmart was the talk of the town. Many were upset about it due to the lack of personal touch, the longer lines (as some people refused to use the self-checkout registers), and the worry that automation was taking jobs away from people who needed them.

Change can be difficult, but that doesn’t make it bad. And the automation versus jobs debate is an important one so we’d like to comment on it.

ESE helps food and beverage companies automate their plants and facilities. We do this so that our customers can reduce waste, increase profits, increase yields and ultimately protect the safety and diversity of our food supply. These are just a few of the benefits of automation and they are substantial.

Automation does impact jobs. It allows you to leverage your most powerful resource, your employees, more effectively. You’ve hired your people because they are smart, capable and resourceful. Automating your facility can help reduce redundant work and allows you to utilize your employees in more beneficial and engaging ways. This may require some new skills and training, but can lead to less turnover and more engagement with the company overall.

Automation is here and it is beneficial, but comes with some challenges. This article from the Harvard Business Review discusses this in detail and talks about how while automation is beneficial it also requires planning to reduce the potential challenges.

This is actually another way ESE helps our customers. ESE can create a Facility Modernization Plan that helps define where customers are and where they want to be. Our consultant talks with all the various groups (maintenance, operations, quality assurance, etc.) during their site visit to assess needs, wants and goals. The document breaks down customer needs, the timeline to integrate changes and upgrades, and the necessary budget.

Process automation and the automation of plants and facilities is only going to increase as the benefits of automation come to the forefront. ESE is here to help you automate your plant, but also plan out the steps so that you can upgrade in a targeted and strategic manner.  Please contact us if you’re interested in learning more.

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