“How can organizations use automation to create a new landscape that moves them forward without shaking up their workforce?”
Joe Dyer hears some version of that question a lot these days from clients and industry peers. As team lead of DISHER’s Manufacturing Tech business division, Dyer understands the reason why: “People are an organization’s most valuable asset, so it becomes a little tricky when they feel like they are being replaced with technology.”
Companies must embrace new technologies to remain competitive, Dyer said. Agile employees end up learning more meaningful roles. And the world is a better place because of the advancements made.
Fundamentally, automation design takes an existing or new process and automates it using simple– or not-so-simple—machines, such as robots.
“The key for most organizations,” continues Dyer, “is to have a functional purpose— a goal to improve productivity as an overall benefit to the organization.”
Automation is a powerful tool for manufacturing. Whether you are part of a machine design company, a business that sells machine hardware, or even a manufacturing company that requires these well-oiled machines to produce a product— all are included in the growing landscape of automation. It’s a manufacturing focus that is here to stay and it’s packed with potential for the future.
As more and more manufacturers adopt the idea of utilizing automated machines to improve productivity, companies have an increased demand for designers and automation experts.
DISHER, a nationally recognized product-and-manufacturing solutions firm based in Zeeland, Mich. has several automation design experts on their team to meet this growing demand. DISHER has become a lead consultant in automation for customers who are seeking ways to increase their performance and grow their business. DISHER delivers a variety of capabilities including: machine design, controls design, productivity improvements, justification, data acquisition, electronics, and robotics.
DISHER has not only led advancements in automation design, but has identified the need for the focused design of productivity improvements for the entire manufacturing process.
Dyer comments, “DISHER looks at an organization’s manufacturing processes holistically to increase overall productivity versus only designing a machine. Customers often come to us and say, ‘I need a machine designed to do XYZ.’ DISHER engineers can deliver with excellence on this request and we can add further value to our customers to help them become more efficient in general.”
DISHER’s experienced team conducts productivity assessments. The team travels to the customer’s operation to evaluate a process in question and provide recommended solutions. DISHER has a deep understanding of continuous improvement (lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, and supplier integration), process development (industrial engineering, design for manufacturing, and packaging engineering), and production readiness (advanced manufacturing, quality engineering, and capital equipment.)
DISHER has the bigger picture in mind when accessing manufacturing processes, Dyer said. “We can uncover if automation is even needed. Perhaps the opportunities are the layout of the shop floor, the wastes of the process, or a separate issue unrelated to automation. At the end of the day, the goal with this approach is to increase productivity for our customers and make them more competitive. If that involves helping with the process of getting a new machine developed— great. If not, we can help with improving the process as an entire system.”
And DISHER has a deep team of over 100 thought leaders who can speak into just about any challenge in a manufacturing setting to deliver a well-rounded assessment.
The success of automation aside, the concern over job replacement remains a point of tension. It is common in the marketplace to have a fear that automation will replace human jobs. As robots and machines take over, there is a fear of job loss and unemployment. Companies are strapped for good talent which is an indicator of a strong economy, but this is not great for employers in need of excellent workers. Automation can step in and provide an immediate benefit. Yes, it may replace individuals’ jobs, but that doesn’t mean that these team members can’t be redeployed in a more human-centric way elsewhere. DISHER focuses on respect for people and seeks to help companies create jobs that are more rewarding than simply tasks that can be done by robots. Perspectives are beginning to change through the understanding of automation. Employees can begin to complete more cognitively-engaging tasks. Automation will continue to lead to more advanced jobs for workers, and with innovative machine design and heightened engagement from shop floor team members, the outcome is going to be a positive one.
Companies will continue to embrace automation design to gain productivity and profitability, but the human component of businesses will not dissolve. Automation design plays a crucial role in today’s manufacturing world. DISHER’s team of experts, including Joe Dyer, seek to harness this progress and optimize it in the best way possible for customers. DISHER can design automated systems, seek improved productivity in the process, reduce waste, and more.
“We have the integrity to keep hard-working people at the forefront of all change to make a positive difference with our customers and the world around us,” Dyer said.