If you trace the demand for automation solutions back to the source, you’ll find the same pressures and economic pitfalls that affect manufacturing across diverse industries. The difference? How companies adapt and grow in response to a challenging market.
With a lukewarm manufacturing outlook for 2016, many companies will default to slashing prices. But chasing cost reductions can be seductive to a fault when shortcuts backfire in unhappy customers or clients. Some of the most resilient manufacturers know that improving quality instead creates value in customer or client loyalty.
Creating Value by Improving Quality
Under pressure to perform better with less, many of those manufacturers turn to customer-driven quality control like Six Sigma. Created by Motorola and popularized by General Electric, Six Sigma provides a systematic lense for eliminating defects in the manufacturing process. Like many lean manufacturing methodologies, implementing Six Sigma can be daunting. Whether a company subscribes to Six Sigma or not, its principles can be used by any company preparing for a difficult economic climate.
To begin with, Six Sigma emphasizes measurable goals and the use of analytics to achieve them. That focus grounds projects in reality while tracking progress and recognizing the patterns that underpin success or recurring problems. It all begins with information. Manufacturers considering lean manufacturing principles should seek the means and expertise to collect and analyze data.
Collecting Data with Automation Solutions
Stockpiling the data needed for meaningful evaluations can be a challenge by itself. While manufacturers are buzzing about advanced industry technology like cloud computing and the Internet of Things, just as many companies are running legacy, analog equipment that can’t be easily hooked into a network.
Automation solutions can modernize older systems to collect the raw data that feeds quality control and many other lean manufacturing methods. An experienced systems integrator can implement automated data collection for diverse equipment and processes. System integrators can also provide software that interprets production data: defining trends, flagging problems, and producing real-time feedback.
Investing in Your Process
Integrated systems and data collection lays the groundwork for a wide variety of quality contol methods like Six Sigma, and other lean manufacturing strategies like OEE (Operational Equipment Efficiency). Similar automation solutions provide real-time on-site feedback, impacting day-to-day operations immediately after installation.
If you're considering a systems integrator, contact Premier Automation to schedule a free on-site evaluation. We are an automation solutions company that invests in our engineers to retain the best talent and offer the experience and skills to create efficient integrated systems. Find out what we can do with your facility.