Solution Series: How Automation Helps Lower Costs

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To say the last couple of years have been hard on businesses (large and small) would be an understatement. While some segments were hit harder by pandemic-related financial challenges than others, all industries are now feeling the pressure of rising labor costs, supply chain issues and inflation.

While experts hope there’s an end in sight, supply and wholesale costs continue to rise, causing a ripple effect for businesses and consumers alike. While many of the factors responsible for increasing costs are out of their control, businesses implementing automation are realizing better cost efficiency.

When money is a concern, justifying the initial investment in automation can be the biggest hurdle, but the payoff is almost always swift and exponential.

How automation can help

As anyone in the business of producing goods knows, time is money. And that’s where automation comes in—helping businesses manufacture or process faster and increase throughput. It’s a boon to any bottom line and the market at large, which is still feeling the long-term effects of supply shortages or inflation.

What’s more, automation can make for a more cost-efficient workforce, and even help with employee retention. Automated systems free up employees (previously assigned to dull, dirty and/or dangerous tasks) to focus on more fulfilling jobs and career development opportunities. 

Solution 1: Better technology for higher efficiency 

New advances in vision technology are allowing robots to complete tasks that were once thought to be impossible—from precision butchering in meat processing plants to robots that can pick and place objects of varying weights, shapes and orientations. Quality control is another area where vision and AI-driven advances are allowing for better efficiency (and therefore, lower costs). New sophisticated vision systems allow manufacturers to inspect food products and ingredients (or any other manufactured goods, for that matter) much faster and without the need for costly human labor.

Solution 2: Prevent losses in productivity and missed opportunities

As the pandemic showed us, staffing crunches in industrial environments or service businesses can throw a big wrench in operations. In addition to lost productivity, businesses may miss opportunities to boost revenue if they don’t have reliable employee resources to keep up with demand. 

Automating a manufacturing production line is an obvious solution, but companies in all industries can take advantage of robotic technology, starting small (with a single cleaning robot, for example). 
In fact, ABI Research predicts a rise in mobile robots, including autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), robotic forklifts/tuggers, bipeds and quadrupeds, and delivery robots.

Automation can even boost safety (and lower costs related to workplace injuries). Automated forklifts, for example, are a perfect “starter” application for any business that involves material handling. Not only do traditional forklifts require more costly skilled/trained labor, but they are responsible for an estimated 7,000+ injuries and 70 deaths each year

Solution 3: Think small, maximize space

For businesses in all segments, square footage is at a premium. As real estate prices, rent and interest rates continue to rise, maximizing space is a boon to the bottom line.

Companies are replacing space-hogging conveyor systems with AMRs to take advantage of as much vertical space as possible. Robots also allow for tighter packing of inventory (narrower aisles and more stacking) since they’re stronger and more nimble than humans. 

See these solutions—and more—at Automate 2024

If you’re in the market for a new way to cut costs, Automate is the best place to explore the latest and greatest automation breakthroughs for businesses big and small. Register for free and join us May 6-9, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois.  

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