Manufacturing companies are finding they are dealing with the competing priorities of increasing the efficiency of their production processes, while managing staff and skills shortages.
If the widely held belief – do or die – is not enough incentive, what are five reasons why UK manufacturers should invest in today’s automation technology?
1. Automation is Getting Cheaper
“The only problem was that developing new machinery and production lines was time consuming and very expensive.
“Today’s smart software can communicate with a wide range of hardware to provide flexible and affordable automation, often without the need for investing in new machinery.
“This software-led approach can transform workflows, saving precious time and resources.”
2. Swiftly Scale Up
“Increasing output can be tricky when you rely on manual processes or outdated systems, as you will probably require more people, more machines and more space,” Linda continues.
“Any expansion will therefore involve a lot of time and investment.”
“The beauty of smart automation is that it allows manufacturers to create flexibility in their production lines, so their output can be adjusted in real-time to cope with changes in demand“
Linda Eziquiel, RandDTax
“You can also run production lines for longer, such as overnight or at weekends, without incurring huge staff costs.
“On the flip side, production can be decreased to cope with fluctuating demand or fewer product SKUs, without having to lose valued employees.”
3. Machines Can’t Catch Covid-19
“As we have seen with the coronavirus crisis, unexpected disruptions can play havoc with production lines and supply chains,” warns Linda.
“This can lead to shortages of manpower, materials and ultimately stocks on shelves.
“Yet far from losing human jobs, the rapidly advancing smart technology world will require us to interact with machines in a whole new way creating new and more flexible employment opportunities.”
4. Improve Quality
“Whether developing a new product range or improving an existing offering, smart software lets manufacturers track what is happening on their production line.
“By constantly reviewing and measuring products and processes, manufacturers can make big leaps in both quality and the speed of production.
“The aim is to create an automated system which has increased output capability, reduced downtime and minimal mistakes.”
5. Alternative Funding for Automation
“There are incentives available to help fund the introduction of bespoke automation systems, which don’t involve applying for grants or bank loans,” explains Linda.
Qualifying UK businesses can get R&D Tax Relief or if loss making, R&D Tax Credit cash payments every year they spend time or money on this. The funding is simply claimed as part of a company’s annual corporation tax return.
“These UK government Research and Development incentives can return up to 33% of relevant development costs – including staff salaries and sub-contractor fees – back to the business,” Linda continues.
“I never cease to be amazed by the number of manufacturers who are not aware of the fact they can claim back a significant proportion of their development costs”
Linda Eziquiel, RandDTax
“Any business which is improving products or processes, such as increasing automation, needs to see if they qualify for this funding,” concludes Linda.
To discover what your manufacturing company can claim, arrange a FREE assessment with RandDTax by:
RandDTax has developed a Case Study, in association with Manufacturing Matters Magazine.
The Case Study reveals how RandDTax enabled a bespoke lighting firm to receive half a million pounds of extra funding from HMRC.
To get your copy, please click here.