When you think automation, you probably imagine assembly lines full of robotic arms or factory floors packed with computerized systems that never sleep. And while it’s true that up until a few years ago, automated technology was best suited to large-scale enterprise solutions, times have changed.
Today’s automated solutions are not only appropriate and affordable for every sized business but can be an essential part of the strategy to go toe to toe with big industry. The benefits of automation can help smaller, scrappy enterprises ramp up productivity and grab a bigger slice of the pie in highly competitive arenas like manufacturing and service.
With record sales of automation and robotics across the US, the question is not if businesses can afford automation, but if they can afford not to employ the benefits of automated technology. Increasingly it’s become a critical part of staying competitive at any level in a rapidly changing labor landscape.
Automation is essential for smaller-scale operations
In the past, small business owners may have been wary of the sticker shock of automation. But as technology has advanced, robotics have become more affordable and flexible, making small-scale automation solutions practical and cost-effective.
For business leaders hesitant of their ability to understand and implement automated technology, rest assured robotics is becoming increasingly intuitive. Robotics integrators are also becoming more agile at customizing solutions in a way that makes sense for small business, manufacturing, and service sector applications.
Everyone has seen armies of robots lined up in an automotive plant, and it doesn’t take long to add up the millions of dollars that those lines represent, but that’s not the standard today. Ninety percent of businesses in this country are made up of companies with less than 500 employees, and they represent the future of manufacturing. They move faster than the giants of industry; they are more creative and more willing to take on risk than their larger competitors.
If you look around today, you don’t see US Steel, Alcoa, GE, AT&T of yesterday – you see Tesla, Nucor, Amgen, Netflix. Fifteen years ago, they didn’t exist, but they had vision and direction. They each embraced automation in a unique way, and today have become the leaders and innovators.
There is no doubt that industrial giants will be around. They are necessary, but they are not the standard-bearers. My guess is that we haven’t seen the companies that our children and grandchildren will have in their lives. But through automation those companies that are in their earliest stages today will become the leaders tomorrow.— James G. Wendler, President & CEO of SPI Automation
Why your business should put automate to work
As markets grow increasingly competitive and skilled labor shortages hit critical mass, small and medium-sized enterprises are turning to automation to stay competitive for the following reasons.
Automate can jumpstart growth
The widely held assumption is that automation replaces workers, but this is a misconception that belies what is happening in many industries. As efficiency increases, businesses tend to enjoy more opportunity and growth because they are better positioned to meet demand. Instead of eliminating workers, growth from automation drives increased hiring and expansion in other parts of the business. Automated technology isn’t about replacing people but creating a skilled workforce focused on high-value contributions instead of menial labor.
Automation is increasingly flexible
As automation gets more agile, opportunities to integrate robotics arise in new types of processes and business applications. Industries where it didn’t make fiscal sense to automate before are now more attractive grounds for automated technology solutions. The sectors experiencing some of the highest rates of growth due to automation are manufacturing and service areas like food, consumer goods, plastics, rubber, life sciences, and electronics.
Automation helps businesses stay competitive
The lure of offshoring cuts deeply into many markets, undermining profit margins, and driving cheap labor that ultimately hurts healthy competition and consumers. Smaller businesses need creative solutions to stay a step ahead of these rapidly shifting market influences.
One way to increase efficiency, cut costs, and expand volume at the same time is to employ automated technology. By using automation, your company is better positioned to compete and attract business that had previously moved offshore.
Whether you’re a scrappy, fledgling company hungry to take a bite out of a new market or an established mid-sized enterprise struggling to elbow your way into industry influence, automated technology could be the secret sauce of your success.
SPI Automation Can Help
Need assistance integrating automation into your small or mid-sized business? Start a conversation with SPI Automation, Inc. at 801-233-8000 or reach out to Jim Wendler or Ryan Park to see how we can help.
Our goal is to truly understand and commit to helping you work through the challenges of integrating automated processes into your workflow. It’s our business to help your company begin reaping the benefits of increased productivity. No matter the size of your business, we’re committed to becoming not just your robotics integrator, but your partner in improving efficiency, increasing production, and creating new opportunities for growth within your industry.