Process Automation is an age-old concept and has been helping industries evolve a cost-effective operations model. The process to be automated can be core or peripheral only and can be done in weeks or can take months based on the level of detailing required in the automation. But thanks to advancements in robotics, any process in the industry starting from the mundane assembly line to human-intensive quality checks can now be automated with ease. In order to help MSMEs automate their plants, there are low-cost automation processes available as well and which need experts from different operation skills to work on them.
Some of the steps that will be required for automation are:
1. Identify the areas which can be automated
Although all areas are prone to automation, the limiting factor is the cost and availability of skilled manpower to achieve this. Since most MSMEs are interested in low-cost automation, the most common processes that the automation consultant would suggest are assembly line, packaging, storing, raw material sorting, etc. which usually give a large reduction in labor.
2. Select the model
In many cases automation requires that current processes be remodeled and changed so that they are easily done by robots/machines. This will require the manufacturing consultant to study the as-is process and suggest changes in the same before starting the actual automation process.
3. Plan the automation exercise
Most of the current processes are handled by humans for a long time and hence better prone to handle exceptions. So when the automation process is started, the automation consultant has to plan it in such a way that there is gradual shifting from human handling to machine handling wherein the transition periods can range from 3 months to 1 year based on the complexity of the operations. Also, human intervention will be required in unknown/new exceptions occurring after the automation is implemented.
4. Deploy in phases
As discussed all projects shall be implemented in phases and the pilot phase will give confidence to the industry and the employees and give them ample time and space to get adjusted to the new process. Also, each phase shall have a test and live environment and the automation consultant will take the proper sign-off from all stakeholders to move from one phase to the other. The key consideration will also be the actual downtime required for the switch over.
5. Final implementation
A skilled automation consultant will develop a rigorous training and contingency handling process before the rollout and handover. The typical automation process also training also handles critical issues during the sign-off phase which have to handled by the automation consultant and subsequent training to the staff post-handover.
6. Maintain the system
Since automation is always an ongoing process, there will be changes in the process and systems to be done periodically. The automation consultant will then look at the process piecemeal basis and suggest the right process.
SolutionBuggy has helped more than 75+ industries in various automation exercises ranging from entire industry scale RPA to low-cost automation. We have automation consultants with experience ranging from 10 to 30+ years in different domains and would be interested in taking up automation at MSME industries more so in Tier II and Tier III cities where access to such technology is comparatively low. To know more register your automation requirement on www.solutionbuggy.com
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