What is the ROI on Automation in Food Manufacturing?

Making the switch to automation in your food manufacturing practices can feel like a daunting task. While there’s no doubt automation makes production more efficient, it can feel overwhelming to hit your ROI (return on investment) when adding expensive new equipment to your business.

Here are a few of the major ways automation contributes to your business’s growth in a long-term, sustainable way. Although you might need to make an investment up-front, incorporating automated practices to your business is one of the best ways to save money going forward.

Calculating ROI on Automation

Employee Impact

Implementing automation in your business transforms your workplace into an efficient, dynamic environment. Think of automation as a means to enhance employees’ productivity, rather than a means to replace employee responsibilities.

Delegate Repetitive Tasks – Food manufacturing often requires employees to complete repetitive tasks on a large scale. This type of work can become exhausting and monotonous, and leads to a high employee turnover rate. “Repetitive tasks are ideal targets for automation” and utilizing robotic labor in addition to human employees creates a safer, less physically exhausting work environment (universal-robots.com). With a lower turnover rate and greater overall employee satisfaction, you’ll save on hiring and training long-term.

Optimize Human Labor – Automation creates the opportunity for employees to live up to their full potential in the workplace, and “can also help increase revenues by shifting human labor toward activities that generate sales” (food-management.com). Instead of delegating employee labor to the completion of mindless tasks, optimize your employees’ skills and refocus their work to prioritize big-picture, sales-driven tasks. 

Rethink Public-Facing Roles – If your business includes public-facing roles, “one of the most visible areas where automation is adding efficiencies is in self-ordering, whether it’s done online, via a mobile app or at an in-store kiosk” (food-management.com). Essentially, this switch cuts back on employee-facing roles by offering remote ordering capabilities, and combined with other reallocated tasks “that labor shift translates into annual savings in excess of $12 billion in wages, according to a report from Oracle called ‘Restaurant 2025’” (food-management.com).

Health and Safety

One of the biggest benefits that automation offers is the ability to methodically keep track of important safety information like expiration dates and product traceability. Poor safety practices can have dire consequences, and automation simplifies and streamlines your health and safety needs.

Quality Control – Automation in manufacturing means consistent, top-notch, quality control. Machines are precise, and every product goes through the exact same evaluation process. This means any abnormalities are caught much sooner, and can be addressed before the product is available to the market. This will save you the stress and financial burden of dealing with unsafe products accidentally being sold to customers.

Product Traceability – Modern analytics tools allow you to keep track of raw products at any point during the production process. This data allows you to cut back on inefficient practices and alerts you to unnecessary expenses, so you can streamline production in the future.

Sophisticated Labeling Processes – Automated labeling machines “reduce the labor costs spent on date-coding labels, and second, they reduce the time spent training workers to perform the task” (food-management.com). In addition to these expense-related benefits, automated labeling machines are much safer and more accurate and can save your business the stress of keeping track of perishable items.

Environmental Benefits

Many businesses are switching to automated methods to manage environmental factors like heating, HVAC systems, and refrigeration temperatures.

Increased Safety Features – Automated system controls on appliances like refrigerators help maintain safe and consistent temperatures for perishable products. In addition to monitoring temperatures, these systems are equipped to “issu[e] alerts and schedul[e] repairs without human intervention,” which simplifies maintenance and allows you to focus on other tasks (food-management.com).

Energy Saving Technology – Save long-term by implementing automated technology on features like lights and heat. This way, you won’t spend unnecessary resources and money powering electronics that aren’t actively being used. Features like motion-sensing lights keep the energy bill low, and help the planet to boot.

ROI on Automation: Quick Results in the Long-Term

Part of the long-term benefits of implementing automated processes is the flexibility they create for future expansion. At Custom Cut Metals, you can expect meticulously crafted and reliable equipment to meet your manufacturing needs. Custom Cut Metals provides both standard and custom equipment built to increase efficiency and overall production. Custom Cut Metals’ team of experts will help outfit your facility with high-end machines built to last. Contact us today for more information about our services.

At the end of the day, automation in food manufacturing is here to stay. Adapting to current manufacturing standards, prioritizing safety, and optimizing employee skills will help your business thrive both now, and in the future.