Automate Now

JHFoster is in the business of engineering solutions to automation problems. Regardless of your industry, we’re here to guide you through your automation project journey. From traditional industrial applications to leading edge technologies, we can help you stay ahead of the competition and discover new ways to automate every process within your company. Wherever you are on the automation roadmap, there is no pre-determined starting point. We meet you at any phase of the automation lifecycle. 

The Automation Lifecycle

Automation Roadmap: Don’t get left behind

The purpose of a roadmap is to prioritize and determine where improvements will fit into the timeline of your production goals or production lines in order to maximize performance while minimizing downtime. Knowing what you need and want from your automation project may not be as simple as it sounds. Brainstorming, collaboration, communication, and many other analytical tools are required across departments for a successful project.

An automation roadmap is a detailed diagnosis of your operations and current automation systems that helps to plan and prioritize technological upgrades over a set period. These upgrades boost quality, productivity and efficiencies resulting in meeting and exceeding production quotas. If your competition doesn’t have this roadmap in place yet, before too long they will – let us help you beat them to it. Use these suggestions to define your goals and begin creating a more efficient production line.

12 Key Steps to Consider Before Starting Your Automation Project

The sooner you define your goals and objectives, the better chance you have that your project will end up successful. With clearly defined objectives, the value and resources of each project will be optimized. Make sure everyone on the team agrees on what the project needs to achieve before it starts. Things to consider;

1) What will your business gain from this project?

2) How will this project impact operations (i.e. greater efficiency, better quality, compliance, etc.)?

3) Can data generated by this system be used by other systems?

4) People objectives. Skill development, ease in work pressures

Visualizing your project as a success can help determine any issues or problems that may occur before the project begins. Viewing it from different perspectives of those who will be directly involved and how it will affect them can help realize any shortcomings of those affected and what workarounds might be needed.

Input from multiple departments can guide your decision-making to help understand what the most important motivation is for your project. Justification is often the most challenging aspect of planning. Before placing an order, management and the project team must be willing to commit to the value of the investment.

The goal of any automation application is to have technology help create a more efficient production process – to assist human workers and enhance overall company output.

1) What outcomes or desired results does your project team want to achieve?

2) What do they want the project experience to be like? (i.e. no production shut down or communication via email, etc.)

3) How will you define quality? Such as on time/on budget or increased production volumes or zero downtime, at the end of the project?

Having a clearly defined starting point is everything. By creating clear and concise goals for the project and verifying that the project will answer the need, you are on your way to successful project.

It’s always wise to get a second opinion from an informed outsider. Before finalizing your project, look for a system integrator that can offer insight and if your project needs adjusting and/or if the costs are comparable.   

Decide what parameters are expected surrounding communication for the project such as; what, how and when things should be communicated to the team. 

Create a team to examine the project and implement a strategy. Ideally, the members of this team should include employees from every department involved with the project.

Spell everything out in advance and set up guidelines for who is responsible for doing what in relation to the project.

Spell everything out and state up front all the requirements and plans for the project and write them down.

It’s very important to put together a scope that reflects both the well-defined areas of the project as well as the gray areas that can help indicate when project reassessment should occur. After goals have been agreed upon, it’s easier to integrate a finely tuned automated system into a business to streamline work processes, increase worker safety, and enhance overall company output.

Have questions? Need help defining your roadmap? Contact our team of automation engineers today at 800.582.5162 or e-mail to learn more about how we can help with your automation challenges.