Automation or controlling something automatically is the use of systematic control system to operate, produce and deliver an output (product or service) with minimal or reduced human intervention.
The biggest benefit of automation is that it saves labor! However, it is also used to save energy and materials and to improve quality, accuracy and precision. Companies – big and small, are adopting automation at the very fundamental level. It is just not helping them save costs on manpower, but also helping them reduce time and waste.
Advantages of Automation:
Although many companies hire labor for a up to three shifts to run the business operations for the maximum number of hours, however business still needs to be closed for maintenance and holidays. Automation fulfills the aim of the company by allowing the company to run a business (operations) for 24 hours in a day 7 days in a week and 365 days a year, therefore high productivity. Online or internet banking systems are a clear example.
Automation eliminates the error associated with a human being. Further, unlike human beings, automated systems, specifically robots do not involve any fatigue, which results in products with uniform quality manufactured at different times. Car manufacturing units are a fine example.
Adding or deleting a new task in an operations or an assembly line requires training with a human operator, however, with the help of automation and with the right use of robotics, systems can be programmed to do any task. This makes any business process more flexible.
Adding automated data collection, can allow you to collect key business, production and operation information, improve data accuracy, and reduce your data collection costs. This provides crucial information with the required facts to make the right decisions when it comes to optimizing a process and reducing waste.
One of the biggest disadvantages of automation is its high initial setup cost. The automation of a new production or plant typically requires a very large initial investment in comparison with the unit cost of the production, although the cost of automation may be spread among many products and over time.
There are many automation tools and products out there in the market, but one of the most phenomenal and growing technology is – ROBOTICS. It is a branch of engineering and computer science that deals with design, construction, and as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing. The fundamental technology deals with automated machines such as robots, this is because it can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, or resemble humans in appearance, behavior and also cognition. Automation is becoming one of the most essential aspects of any organization. Leaders and managers are starting to think more “automation” i.e. how to automate tasks, steps, process and functions within projects and operations. This has also given birth to a new profession, widely known as automation professionals.
Automation professionals are responsible for solving complex problems in many vital aspects of industry and its processes. The work of automation professionals is critically important to the conservation of the health, safety, and welfare of the organization and also the public, and to the sustainability and enhancement of business and quality of life.