Phased automation: Remove the risk and add confidence and capabilities

By having a holistic viewpoint of your automation aspirations the whole process becomes clearer, more structured and a lot more palatable in terms of cost, time, energy and effort. Then a phased approach will help you realise your ultimate vision.

About David Jahn

Focused on serving the fresh-produce sector, David Jahn, co-owner of Brillopak with business partner Peter Newman, is passionate about assisting packhouses to address labour shortages, profitability and operational efficiency.

Part entrepreneur, part innovator, part director, David has a good grasp of how economic and political decisions impact business and society globally, particularly in the logistics, manufacturing and packing sectors.

Building systems for a diverse client base – including leading UK supermarkets, SME food factories, and contract packers – David gets that no single approach to automation is right for every business or budget. He provides a fresh perspective and insight, applying his previous experience gained from launching a business, being a technology company Board Director and working in risk-management consultancy.

I am going to break convention and start this blog with the conclusion. Put simply: When it comes to adding or expanding automation at your facility, make sure you have a real grasp of the bigger picture.

It may sound a little glib, but I cannot stress how important this is. I have seen projects fall by the wayside or regularly fail to achieve their objectives simply because people did not plan ahead and, indeed, plan sideways. They failed to consider all the facets that would define and influence their investment and then watched as it failed to live up to expectations.

Teamwork and talking

And this bigger picture involves proper teamwork and talking, not just internally but with your end-of-line automation supplier too. You need involvement at all levels and from all parties to establish the efficacy of what you want to achieve and then plan how you will achieve it.

A good understanding of this bigger picture will allow you to take a phased approach to your investment. Start small, evaluate, improve and then expand, at your pace and within the bounds of your CapEx. It’s akin to learning to walk before you start running. Start small, get to know your new system, evaluate its impact and how it fits with your current operations and once you’re comfortable, start on phase two… and then repeat.

Eliminate sunk costs

As well as making the whole process a lot more palatable from a peace-of-mind perspective, this step-by-step approach eliminates sunk costs, has a much lesser effect on existing production and gives you the ability to stage training and breed familiarity, making sure that your operators are more accepting of the new technology.

I have seen this phased approach result in so many successes. We have seen companies go from no automation to a single machine, through cells and lines and onto entire plants. All at their own pace and each stage improving on the next. The result being a slick, automated produce packaging solution built in complete sympathy with current AND future requirements. And one that was born from a bigger picture that was well thought out and truly encompassed every element of the project.

Plan for the future

And it gets better. We’ll help you create this bigger picture. It’s not a sales push, it’s a consultancy exercise that will result in a solution that delivers what you need now and in the long run. We’ll help you plan it and integrate it with your existing operations so you will become one of the success stories. It’s not just technology, or people or businesses; it’s all three working in harmony. If you’re going to automate, get the best team you can in place. Why not give us a call and imagine what we could achieve together. Contact us HERE.