By Craig Foster, Chief Financial Officer at Bright Machines
November 20, 2019
At Bright Machines, we have high ambitions for the future of factory floors. When talking to customers about implementing automation for their factory line there are typically three primary considerations – output, quality, and cost. Return on Investment (ROI) is embedded in all three vectors but one often overlooked consideration is how customers can win more business using our automation solutions.
The roadblocks: Time and Risk
Many people understand the basic value in automation, but simply don’t know how to get there – let alone up-level their automation game. To turn a factory into an efficiency machine takes overcoming two common challenges – time and risk. For anyone that has launched a project, whether it be a corporate M&A acquisition or a home remodel; time becomes a variable of risk. If you implement too fast, it’s inevitable that you will overlook critical details that will increase execution risk. If you go too slow, you push out your ability to capture ROI and thus put your project returns at risk.
Here’s how the automation conversation typically goes for customers looking to bring a new product to market:
Company: We just designed our new product and we need to bring it to market ASAP.
Manufacturer: Great, we’re ready to make it happen! And we can fully automate the production which will provide you the capacity and quality level you requested.
Company: Sounds perfect, how long will it take to get up and running?
Manufacturer: Automated solution? Probably nine months, but we should plan for a year – there are always a few issues along the way...
Company: That feels like forever.
Manufacturer: The only alternative is to hire more labor.
It’s not that automating a factory is impossible, it’s that there are inherent flaws in the approach so commonly taken by manufacturers when considering solutions. Because of time and risk constraints – manufacturing automation has only been for long run products because the economics never work. This leaves manufacturers in a non-scalable situation.
In order to bring in next generation solutions a plant manager must consider the following:
How can I win if we need to engage a 3rd party to build a one-off automated factory line and then every time there is a change to the product (regardless of how small), the firm needs to be re-engaged?
Can I repurpose the automation machinery when production is over? Do you throw it away?
What effort would it take to “reprogram” the machines to do a completely different task?
How easily can I move production from location to location?
A winning solution: Bright Machines Microfactories
Bright Machines Microfactories lead the way when it comes to deploying a flexible automation solution that enables business growth. With many of our customers backed by the support of a team dedicated to improving automation, manufacturers can cut costs and grow their business leveraging the combined power of hardware and software. Here are four ways that manufacturers can win more business with microfactories at the helm:
- More machine utility: Because microfactories can be reconfigured for new products, they have a longer lifespan and therefore bring extended utility to manufacturers.
- More project opportunities: The flexible nature of microfactories mean that customers can deliver a wide range of assembly services (such as DIMM insertion and labeling) which enables manufacturers to take on a wider variety of projects, expanding product possibilities.
- Win more projects: today customers are looking more and more towards automation. EMS and contract manufacturing companies that would like to differentiate themselves have to leverage new technologies to win. Bright Machines microfactories provide a great way to differentiation and to win critical projects.
- Lower cost: With an intelligent software layer that configures and manages machines, customers don’t need an army of expensive engineers to deploy automation. This greatly cuts down on operational costs.
- Solve labor shortage issues: With Bright Machines Select model our customers typically find that they pay less for our microfactories than they would pay using manual operators. So, it really solves the labor shortage issue for them in a cost-effective manner.
This is why manufacturers on three continents have chosen Bright Machines to automate and expand their manufacturing operations. Contact us today to find out how microfactories can help take your business to the next level.