food production

Automation’s Bigger Role in Post-Pandemic Production

One of the lessons the global pandemic has taught the world is that automation is becoming crucial in production processes. It offers a cost-effective and time-saving solution for increasing production demands that are becoming higher than what workers can accomplish without the help of machines. The need to produce goods by bulk while maintaining a high level of quality is another excellent reason for investing in automation systems.

Automation Is Proving its Value in this Pandemic

Today, health concerns and compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures join production targets and business goals as motivations for adopting automation systems. COVID-19 has a high transmission rate: it easily spreads when people who have the virus cough or sneeze without any form of face covering. The virus can also latch onto surfaces and survive from two hours to five days, depending on the material it contaminated. While the world waits for viable solutions to be developed and distributed, it is safer for everyone to practice social distancing outside their homes.

Automation helps prevent the spread of the virus inside factories and industrial facilities because it enables companies to execute production processes without having people do the hands-on work. The most that workers in a fully-automated production facility have to do is monitor the machines and make sure these are producing at the quality and rate that the company needs.

The importance of automation is particularly relevant in food production. As an example, using well-maintained piston filling machines to pump cream filling in pastries or puree in glass bottles instead of having workers do them manually. This achieves the following:

  • Compliance with on-site social distancing rules
  • Reduces human-to-human contact as well as human-to-product contact
  • Lowers the risks of transmission, especially from asymptomatic carriers of the virus

Other examples of industries that stand to benefit from automation systems are cosmetics, hair and skin care, fragrance, and packaging manufacturing.

Automation Promotes Upskilling

Much of the resistance against automation in factories is rooted in the fear that machines will replace people, and many will lose their jobs. These worries are legitimate but sticking to manual processes can be a hindrance to growth. For one thing, humans tire and need breaks and days off while machines do not. For another, resistance to automation boxes workers into roles that don’t challenge them to improve their skills or expand their knowledge.

By automating tasks that don’t require a lot of critical thinking, companies can focus on hiring employees with higher-level skills and competencies. Doing so would elevate their employee profiles and encourage creativity and innovation in-house. Alternatively, companies can provide training and certification programs for their current employees. A company that invests in its people, specifically by providing opportunities to upskill, is often rewarded with employee loyalty and commitment to help the organization reach its business goals.

The pandemic has shown that industries are moving towards automation — it’s inevitable. The progress of automation has accelerated in light of the ongoing situation. Industries that can adapt to the changes and automate their production lines early will have a better chance of achieving success.