Opportunities in 2020 and Beyond

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With the turn of the New Year, we also welcome in a new decade. A time where new beginnings and energy can take hold allowing us the opportunity to set goals (quantitative and qualitative) and focus ourselves. If you run or manage a manufacturing or fabrication facility, you also have the opportunity to focus your employees on these goals.

As a business owner or manager, what opportunities do you see in 2020 and beyond for your company and employees? (FYI, I choose to see events as opportunities, not challenges.) If you are a business owner, have you thought how new workers/markets/procedures, or new/updated technology (including machines and software) can help your company meet your 2020 and beyond goals? Have you thought how the Internet of Things (IoT), labor shortage, new regulations, trade wars, technological advancements, and Industry 4.0 will enable your business to grow or provide new opportunities?

Each of these could provide different opportunities. For example, with Industry 4.0 in full swing, fabrication facilities are changing/adapting with opportunities to automate processes and connect machinery to a central system. All work environments, including factories, are digitally evolving with more processes and procedures being automated by machines (which are all controlled by software). According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, automation is “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically” by reducing human intervention. In other words, automation is an opportunity to free up worker bandwidth, thus allowing them to tackle other, higher-level tasks not currently automated.

As stated previously, automation which drives advancements in procedures and processes is run by software. Software is vital to the success of any business, especially manufacturing. Software plays different roles in each fabrication facility and will continue to change the ways of business now, in the new decade, and beyond.

Change is inevitable, so take this opportunity to embrace it. Enable your business and employees to adapt to the changing manufacturing landscape by upgrading your machinery, providing training, implementing new software, seizing new opportunities, etc.

Speaking of software, implementing or updating software can be challenging. So, look at it as an opportunity to re-examine current processes, reallocate funds, shift priorities, change procedures, retrain staff, etc. These opportunities can help your company grow in 2020 and beyond, compete with competitors, lead the market, etc. Software, when configured correctly, can enable your business to tackle new opportunities, automate worker tasks, help advance employee skills, increase revenue, increase yield, and decrease costs over time, just to name a few.

With the shift to Industry 4.0 and automation, have you started putting software to work for you and your business? If so, how? How is that working? What roadblocks have you uncovered? What benefits have you discovered? If not, how can 2020 be the year you start incorporating software?

A bird’s-eye view of the impressive cutting and sorting environment at Teuto-Glas with the LSG and float cutting lines connected directly to the sorter via swivel conveyor, while the sorting buffer is visible in the right rear corner. Automation at such a facility allows for decreased costs and higher yields.