We’re currently in the midst of Industry 4.0 – a time which is seeing many mechanical or traditional processes automated, such as the implementation of smart technology. The aim, of course, is to speed up operations and produce more efficient results by reducing demands on human labour.
However, digital technologies, especially those which require large overhauls of outdated technology, come at a cost, and this is something that smaller manufacturers may not be about to absorb to the fullest extent. But with the risk of getting left behind, it’s clear that companies of all sizes must embrace technological innovations in order to maintain profitability as a business.
In today’s post, we will cover some of the most fundamental ways that smaller manufacturers can implement digital technologies within their operations to shed light on this issue.
Keeping Up To Date With Emerging Technologies
First of all, it’s one thing looking to implement new technologies within your manufacturing business. However, it’s important to understand what these actually are and whether they will make a genuine improvement to the productivity of your business.
A good place to start is to consider any current areas of the business which are underperforming, specifically due to inefficiency. For example, heavy lifting can be completed much more quickly, not to mention safely, through the use of material handling, and cable management can be updated through the likes of festoon cabling systems if applicable.
Regardless of the types of applications your business encounters, it’s important that company owners keep up to speed with how tasks, particularly those which are labour intensive, can be automated. This doesn’t have to mean costly installations, as it can even relate to installing apps or software to increase productivity. But without arming yourself with the latest information, small manufacturers can easily get left behind.
Look To Retrofit Rather Than Replace
Depending on the equipment type, it may be possible to retrofit digital technology such as sensors on legacy equipment or the enabling of ICT infrastructure in machinery.
Furthermore, implementing many small digital changes can often avoid the challenges of making large changes to the operations of a business. Aside from the initial purchase expense, these challenges may include integration issues, additional training for the workforce as well as maintenance costs. So, smaller changes are seen as less risky and more cost effective all round.
Small manufacturers may not have the impressive budgets of their larger counterparts. But, even the most minute of operations can ensure they keep up to date, not just with the latest technological innovations but also management styles which go hand in hand with newer ways of working.
In the past, control and command management styles ruled the roost. In today’s times, the best managers are looking to empower employees so that they can innovate their own solutions to technical problems and think of new ideas to help the business as a whole.
Ultimately, employees want to feel valued in the work that they do, and while technology can be used to enhance the capabilities of employees, it is also important that the employees themselves have a sense of job satisfaction. This is one area that no manufacturing company can overlook as Industry 4.0 takes over.
Manufacturing Products UK – Metreel
Metreel is a leading supplier of manufacturing products, tools and accessories in the UK.
Based in Derbyshire, we operate not just across the East Midlands but on a global scale. So, if you are in search of any new manufacturing or safety tools for your business or if you have any questions about manufacturing in the age of digital technology, you’re in the right place.