Automation is the name of the game. That being said, smaller shops may find the logistics and costs surrounding automation a bit prohibitive. However, with the right systems and processes in place, you can automate small machine shops to improve efficiency no matter the size of your operation.
Automate Small Machine Shops to Save Time and Money
As a small shop operator, you know you’ve got a limited amount of human capital and money to work with. Automation can help a great deal with that, but it also costs time, people and money to accomplish. The trick is finding the best ways to automate your specific business without investing too much too fast.
Introduce automated processes in incremental stages that make sense for production schedule and your bottom line. The goal is to make things more efficient, but if you start adopting too many automation process too quickly, you’re probably going to get overwhelmed. Make sure your automated growth is scalable.
Identify Repetitive Tasks
An easy way to automate small machine shops is to start by identifying repetitive tasks that your people are currently doing. It often pays to focus on the smaller things that actually take up a lot more time than you might realize. Find these repetitive tasks that seem to take the most time and could be addressed simply or easily through an automated process.
Once you address these tasks, you’ll see impact that gives you more time, which can in turn, be used towards automating the next task. This kind of automation might be as simple of a change that saves a person five minutes each time they do that task. That maybe doesn’t seem like a lot, but say you have two people who do that role, and they each do that particular task four times a day. You’re now saving 40 minutes a day. If they do that five days a week, you are now saving over three hours a week.
A great idea is to use those three hours to encourage those team members to think of other things that can be done to automate and save time. They can also think about new processes or tasks they wish to do or learn with their extra time. Make automation appealing to your employees by letting them be a part of it.
Look For Free and Low Cost Automation Software
Your industry might not yet have affordable, effective automation. Think smaller. To save time and money in your business you don’t have to automate the big things, you can automate the small ones first. You’re a machine shop, but you certainly make sales and you obviously have accounting services for your business. Think through supporting processes like these and if there are opportunities to streamline and automate them.
Instead of trying to overhaul your production process, look for a way to automate these less specialized areas of business. For example, there are multiple platforms that can automate everything from social media posting, emails and lead generation. Let the machine get it started and your sales people take it through to the finish line.
There are also plenty of low-cost accounting automation platforms that can be utilized to minimize the amount of personal involvement needed there as well. Focus on where you really shine without having your resources bogged down with administrative tasks.