If you stay up to date on the latest news in manufacturing, you know that technology has been taking the industry by storm. New equipment and systems are rapidly changing the way manufacturing factories operate. Among the updates are tools such as automation, robots and new software.
Of course you want to keep up with trends and avoid falling behind in the industry. But with so many developments in manufacturing tech, how do you decide which trends to adopt and which ones to pass on?
Here are three questions to ask yourself when deciding to take it or leave it when it comes to new manufacturing technology:
1. Is it easy to learn?
Whenever you take on a new piece of technology, whether it be a new machine or a new software, you must take into account the training that comes with it. How long will it take for your employees to adjust to the new equipment? Will a process require many hours of training? It’s important to make sure your employees are comfortable with a new machine, but training should not take too long. Will you lose out on too much production time while training is in progress? You need to decide if the new implementation is worthwhile for your company to spend a decent time training. If the tool will exponentially move your business forward in the long run, perhaps it is worth it. These are all things to consider when making your decision. If you don’t have the time for training to take place, it might be a sign to pass for now or look for a less time consuming substitute.
2. Is it cost-effective?
In addition to budgeting your time, you will also want to budget your funds. Can your company afford this new piece of tech right now? If you do require employee training, do you need to hire someone to come in and lead the training? Make sure you have it in your budget to pay for the trainer. If you are losing hours of work time by taking time for training, you may experience lower production, which might mean less money coming in. Make sure you address your budget in these areas so your company doesn’t experience costly income loss during the adjustment period of the new technology integration.
3. Is it efficient?
So you have the time and you have the funds, but does it fit into your big-picture strategy? Imagine your company’s future: Your new hi-tech machine is installed and employees are trained on the process. Will your production line flourish now? How efficient is the new system? Take a look at other companies using this process and their results, and make sure you have a clear picture of how it will work within your company. The goal is for your processes to be sped up. If you think a new technology integration might result in slowing down your processes, you may want to reconsider.
While it is important to stay informed on the latest manufacturing technology, you can’t jump on every update that comes out. Take time to research what is best for your company’s success based on your unique operating reality. Use your discretion and keep these tips in mind when something new comes out and you have to decide to take it or leave it.