People automate too many things. It’s not always good to automate, because machines are not good at making decisions. I once read an article on job hunting that said that often companies create a program that scans resumes to narrow down the applicant field. For the most part, this is not a bad thing. There are many, many people looking for jobs these days and all too often, an HR department is overwhelmed with choice. The problem is that sometimes, the program could eliminate the idea candidate for the job because the information was not what the program expected or presented in a nonstandard way. Sometimes the process just needs the human touch.
Sometimes the automation can go so far that you only need ten people to do the work of thousands. It sounds good on paper, but you should consider this; what do the other nine hundred ninety people do when their jobs are automated out of existence. What’s good for the company is not always as good as it initially looks. A ninety percent work force la off has a negative effect on the economy, which in turn affects your company. The question should never be can we automate, but should we automate.
People think automation is the solution to all manufacturing problems and that seems to be the case. Until you consider all the angles. Speed and accuracy are sometimes best left to machines, but the human element should never be completely excluded because you just have to have a human brain look things over. A machine is only as good as its programming, artificial intelligence aside.
Economically, limited automation makes the most sense. The futuristic factories where automation or robots replaced all the humans can never possibly exist. It would mean the product should be either so cheap anyone could afford it or free. Companies are not in the business of making product – they are in the business of making money. Giving away the product is not an option. They have to sell it. This is where the real problem lies. If people can’t afford the product, they are less likely to buy it. This can lead to a nasty cycle. If the product isn’t selling, companies cut back on production, they lay off more people, adding to the consumer base that isn’t consuming, leading to more production cuts until the company goes under.
It makes sense for companies to watch their bottom lines. The shareholders expect it. the profit margin demands it. So companies see automation as the perfect solution. Automation can speed production. Machines don’t take breaks, even if they do break every now and then. That can be a problem, but humans have needs that machines don’t. That’s why automation looks so good. Machine breakdowns are minimal if the machines remain properly maintained. The human element enters the picture at the product level. Machines don’t create, they only fabricate. What good is more production if no one can afford the product? That’s the question.