“Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.”
― Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
In today’s industries, manufacturers have an entire constellation of technology solutions to consider. Factories can be digitized from beginning to end, integrated into automation systems, connected to the cloud, measured by big data, mobilized and networked into the Internet of Things.
With so much technology available, many manufacturers are paralyzed by the paradox of choice: the more industrial solutions appear, the harder it is to know what will work and what just isn’t right for your business.
How can you emerge from the swamp of indecision and implement the automation solutions that will boost your business?
1. Make Room for Reconnaissance
Feeling paralyzed often comes from the pressure to deliver. That pressure can change the quest for improvement into an obsession with research. There’s always more to learn, so there’s never a clear decision-point.
Rather than fight the urge to gather more information, make reconnaissance part of your routine.
Put aside time for simply exploring options without the mindset that you’re shopping for automation solutions. Treat it like a learning experience only. This reduces the pressure to assign value to every possible venture and expands your general knowledge about your industry. Spending just 20 minutes on reconnaissance every day builds expertise and puts your options in perspective when you do reach a decision-point.
2. Accept Margins for Error
It’s natural to feel conflicted about new automation solutions technology. It may seem like there are no margins for error – make one wrong move, and you might as well shut down the factory today. Opportunity cost matters.
Now take a deep breath. There are many paths to success, and it’s better to take a step, any step, than to stand still and watch the competition pass you by.
New forms of automation tech, like reprogramming existing systems and data collection, can offer efficiency advantages without monopolizing your time or resources. Successful changes like these can build your confidence in bigger improvements down the line.
Just remember: there are no perfect solutions.
You can still find your way to the best fit for your company. Just don't think of your first project choice as pass/fail, do or die, irreversibly final. Successful manufacturers aren’t flawless – they’re resilient.
3. DIY or Delegate?
Yes, you can do it all in-house. Your engineers are smart and capable; they can rig a data collection system. A dedicated team could even link it to mobile applications or migrate production information to the cloud.
But is that the best use of your engineers’ time and expertise?
Anything created in-house will continue to draw from your team’s time and skills for maintenance, upgrades, and new training. In my cases, automation technology constitutes a full-time job by itself. When you’re trying to decide what automation solutions are right for your business, you may also end up deciding how to stretch your people thin.
That’s assuming your in-house team has the requisite experience to design and implement broad industrial solutions. If they don’t, you’re left wondering what options are even feasible.
Don’t be afraid to delegate.
Wait for a lightning bolt of clarity and you may wait forever. Instead, when you're unsure of the solution or the steps needed to achieve it, phone a friend. Choosing a partner you trust to evaluate your existing systems and machinery side-steps choice paralysis altogether. Automation solutions experts are engineers devoted full-time to understanding and applying the right technology for every application. An automation team can offer just a few highly researched solutions based in years of expertise, reducing the pressure on you to know everything on your own.
If you're looking for an automation solutions partner to help you choose and implement new technology or upgrade existing resources, Premier Automation's team of over 20 in-house engineers will do your homework for you. With thousands of completed projects in over 16 major industries, Premier Automation has the experience to solve any automation challenge.
Schedule a free on-site visit, and one of our engineers will evaluate your facility and answer any questions you might have.