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7 Secrets About Production Automation that Nobody Will Tell You

December 21, 2020

 by Renaud Anjoran

production automation

Many companies are doubling down their investments in Chinese factories with an objective to capitalize on an economy that is rebounding faster than ever from COVID-19 crisis. 

These investments are a testament to the fact that factories in China have geared up for complete automation. The growth is inevitable. And companies realise that the time is now to open their wallets, buy machines and crush the competition.

However, these investments will not ensure for automation to run by themselves. One negative consequence of using automation to improve manufacturing production is inadequacy of skilled labour.  

To understand this, CMC has prepared a useful kit for manufacturers contemplating an investment in automated equipment: "The Secrets about Production Automation that Nobody Will Tell You" which runs you through a realistic example of how a seemingly obvious decision to automate a production line can actually be a big mistake.

Keep reading to learn more about why automation may not always be the 'magic bullet' that many manufacturers think it is.

7 Dirty Little Secrets about Automated Processes

Most manufacturing managers in China have limited experience with automated processes. They tend to underestimate the implications of full automation.

Here are seven secrets that will commonly be encountered when implementing automated processes:

  1. You need to hire new people with advanced skills or are potential learners 
  2. A machine might not be immediately operational, and the initial setup can be excruciatingly difficult
  3. Preventive maintenance is critical if the new equipment is to be reliable, and on top of that you will need to buy replacement parts to keep the machine in original condition
  4. The effects of machine breakdowns, and of the quality issues that typically precede a breakdown, have a strong impact on costs
  5. If the machine has to be changed over frequently, it adds to its down time
  6. You will need to evaluate how much flexibility you need in order to respond to your customers’ needs (automated processes usually reduce flexibility)
  7. There is still a need for logistical work between processes

All of these points are expanded upon in our PPTx and excel costing sheet kit: "The Secrets about Production Automation that Nobody Will Tell You"

We estimate that, in about 50% of recent cases in China, automation production systems and computer-integrated manufacturing INCREASED the average unit cost.

Blog image - 7 Secrets About Production Automation that Nobody Will Tell You

In "The Secrets about Production Automation that Nobody Will Tell You" PPTx presentation and xls model, we start from a seemingly straightforward example -- a machine that is supposed to reduce costs by more than half.

The reader is walked through the cost analysis, one step at a time, and is given the Excel spreadsheet with all the details – this way you can use it as a financial model and tweak the numbers to analyse a different situation, such as a possible implementation of automated processes in your factory.

"The Secrets about Production Automation that Nobody Will Tell You" will also highlight some hidden opportunities:

  • If you do the right things, your manual production lines will cost you less than you think
  • Without going into full automation, a well-balanced and productive line will allow you to work on small orders and big orders alike, and will cut lead times compared to your current process
  • There might not be a need to take risks and invest a high amount of money in automation
  • The best-managed manufacturers follow a logic that reduces risk, spreads out and minimises the investment, and naturally upgrades the skills of their maintenance technicians


This kit contains the following files:

  • A PPT presentation that explains the list of possible hidden costs and opportunities a factory should take into account
  • An Excel spreadsheet that contains the numbers, formulas, and graphs shown in the PPT. You can tweak that Excel file as a modelling tool for your own automation projects

Are you ready to get your copy? Just click the button below to request your free download! 

"Will You Save Money With Process Automation in Your Factory" [PPT + sheet]

Topics: Production Planning, Automation, Process Improvement, Preventive Maintenance

Renaud Anjoran

Renaud Anjoran

15 years experience in China.
Partner, China Manufacturing Consultants.
Worked with hundreds of factories in China.
Certifications: ASQ CQE & CRE; ISO 9001 & 14001 lead auditor.
Author of well-read blog, Quality Inspection Tips.

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