Automation is on the rise in manufacturing. Trends suggest the global stock of industrial robots will reach as many as 20 million by 2030, which speaks to an increase in successful automation processes the world over. And the future of automation is even more explosive: McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 87% of the hours spent on activities performed by workers in production occupations are automatable with current technologies.
So whether you’re interested in transitioning to mechanical production, using sensors to track your inventory, or utilizing artificial intelligence to view real-time data on your equipment, a digital Industry 4.0 transformation has the potential to greatly increase efficiency and save money in the manufacturing sector.
But as with any rapid technological change, there are inherent risks when transitioning from manual processes to automated systems. That’s where automation risk management comes in.
What is Automation Risk Management in Manufacturing?
Automation risk management is the process of identifying potential problems that may occur during your digital transition and taking action to prevent these issues before they spring up. Risk management for manufacturers is all about looking ahead to identify possible complications, obstacles, or flaws in your automation plan, and creating a strategy to circumvent them.
For example, a manufacturing business that wants to incorporate IoT technology into its automation processes may need to take a step back and modernize its IT stack, ensure they have the right data engineers on hand, and retrain management to get the best ROI on their upgrades. A plant that hopes to have human and autonomous robots working side-by-side should engage in substantive conversations and development around employee safety.
From technology to engineering, to safety and communication, you can ensure a smooth and streamlined changeover to automation if you are able to pinpoint lurking risks and plan ahead to combat them.
The Power of Proactive Planning before Automating
Unanticipated risks or delays pose a threat to your business. That’s why it’s critical to create a clear plan before implementing new automation strategies. Diving into automation upgrades without assessing risk can lead to costly downtime, expensive product recalls, missed production targets, or even safety incidents.
The key to success (and avoiding dangerous pitfalls) is being proactive. With smart planning, testing, and careful execution, you can stop issues from arising before they negatively impact your business. It’s easier to prevent a mistake than it is to undo one.
Implementing a Successful Risk Management Plan
Your business is unlike anyone else’s, and your risk management plan should be as well. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to preempting and preventing issues from arising. Your plan for mitigating risk should be as unique as your business practice.
The best risk management plans put a strong emphasis on early risk analysis, proof of concept, and communication. This leads to a strong collaboration and a specific and personalized strategy for stopping issues at their origins before they negatively impact your business. Transparent and consistent communication create a back-and-forth partnership that manages risk more effectively than more traditional linear project management.
The Summit Agile Process is an exemplary risk management process offered by Summit Engineered Automation. It’s designed to overcome major risk factors and checks all the boxes for a thoroughly customized, collaborative, and successful risk management plan.