For many years, mills shut down to move operations overseas. For the most part, these moves were done to take advantage of cheap labor in foreign countries—labor so cheap that it offset the logistical challenges, freight costs and quality issues that exist in operating a manufacturing facility overseas.
Now we see what’s called “reshoring,” — manufacturing coming back stateside. Automation is one of many reasons why. It’s a key in combating low overseas labor rates and keeping manufacturing competitive in our new global business landscape. Wise investments in automation can completely eliminate low-skilled, repetitive tasks, almost eliminating those labor costs entirely.
Five areas to consider for automation that will increase efficiency, reduce errors, and cut down on wasted effort:
1. Waiting for figures – Your business relies on accurate data to place orders and make production forecasts. Valuable time is consumed simply waiting for various people to hand in reports. You run the risk of false data by teams wanting to “look good.” Or maybe there’s a discrepancy between facilities or departments that requires resolution. One central ERP platform can work to provide accurate numbers – automatically, any time they’re needed.
2. Manual stock takes — Stock taking “by hand” is laborious and often unreliable. Scanning goods and materials in and out of your warehouse will automatically update the ERP system, ensuring that stock levels are accurate and trustworthy.
3. Manual customer updates — Trying to keep clients/customers in the loop manually is time-consuming and sometimes confusing. Using ERP and business automation, automatic personalized emails are sent as part of the process. Let customers know payment confirmation, delivery schedules, or any other necessary messages, quickly and easily.
4. Ordering stock – Without automation, raw materials and components are ordered on an ad-hoc basis, often following a manual stock check. Business automation can help streamline the ordering process, removing guesswork and uncertainty. When an item reduces to a pre-defined level, an ERP system can generate the necessary order to replenish it immediately.
5. Certified documentation of goods — Using business automation, necessary certificates are generated and printed automatically as the goods progress through production, instead of waiting for a staff member to type up paperwork one-by-one as needed. It is much quicker and efficient.
Automation combats low overseas labor rates and helps to keep manufacturing competitive in the new global business landscape. It is one of the best ways to make things more efficiently, of better quality, and with less waste.