- Automated technology promises increased productivity and profitability, but may shift quality, safety and skill needs and may not always be the best solution. Considering the most efficient degree of automation may help align needs with new technology, Packaging Digest reported last week.
- The difference between the costs and benefits of semi-automated and fully automated equipment lies in the importance of workers. Some industries may benefit from decreased worker interaction — in food compliance, for example — while others may need the human support.
- A semi-automated line allows workers to interact with machines, and to quickly address and correct equipment errors that a machine cannot, while a fully automated line reduces the possibility of contamination, human error, and danger to workers.
Pressure to modernize business abounds, especially when cost-savings and increased productivity are promised. But any executive purchasing new equipment or implementing new technology knows a change in systems is all but smooth, and can sometimes be detrimental.
Packaging Digest reports various questions to address before automating packaging lines, touching on lessons that apply across the supply chain.
Take the promise of Big Data, for example: with 2.5 exabytes of information being created each day, it is easy to be overwhelmed and need new solutions. But solutions and software providers abound, mirroring the concerns of materials managers in the past. Ensuring the best upgrades, then, requires having a specific problem in mind, clear goals and detailed KPIs to measure success of a trial run.
New or old, change management will always be an issue in technology implementations. Fortunately, the best practices to address the change appear to be the same, too.