WHEN LESS IS MORE: Does Mechanization or Automation Always Fit?

By Scott Hennie, MH Engineered Solutions President

During a recent sales call, a customer asked me a question; "Is automation always the right solution to be more efficient?" What a great question. I actually had to pause a minute and think about the answer.

After giving it some thought, I shared with my customer that yes, there are times when automation, or even mechanization, do not make an operation more efficient and may even hinder the operation. I can think of one instance where we recommended that a customer remove a conveyor line that he had in his warehouse. The volume of business that was being done and lack of flexibility that the conveyor imposed actually was not helping this operation.

The lesson I learned from this question was that there is a "bandwidth" of application for all tools and technology. If the application doesn't fit into the "bandwidth" for that business, look for the solution that does fit. As professionals, we are relied on to provide solutions that help our clients. Being able to assess a business challenge and offer pragmatic, realistic solutions to those challenges separates the pro from the amateur.

As I reflect back on that call, it makes sense that there are very successful equipment manufacturers who make products that would be considered "low tech". These companies are successful because there are an application and need for their solutions. The very good ones even develop "low tech" custom solutions that can be very profitable for the end-user by solving unique challenges with creative solutions.

Our goal is to always find the right solution for every customer that fits their budget.