Embracing Automation: A Game-Changer for Glass Companies of All Sizes

Date: 27 June 2024
Source: a-w.com
Embracing Automation: A Game-Changer for Glass Companies of All Sizes
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A+W Software NA

Date: 27 June 2024

Automation presents an opportunity for small and mid-sized glass fabrication companies to significantly enhance their operational efficiency.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the glass industry, the integration of automation has emerged as a transformative force for the last few years. Automation brings with it the promise of increased efficiency, enhanced quality, and a competitive edge for companies of all sizes. For years enterprise companies have used automation to your advantage. Now as demand continues to rise, smaller to mid-sized companies are increasingly turning to automation to not only meet the challenges but to thrive in a dynamic market.

Meeting the Demand with Automation

The National Glass Association (NGA) recognizes the pivotal role automation plays in addressing the growing demands within our industry. The demand for flat glass is steadily increasing (read the statistics in our industry magazines and e-newsletters), putting pressure on companies of all sizes to streamline their processes and deliver products more efficiently. Small to mid-sized companies, in particular, are finding themselves at a crossroads where embracing automation becomes of strategic importance and the only way to survive against their larger competitors. Let’s explore the potential positive effects automation can have on small and mid-sized companies.

Enhancing Efficiency and Quality

Automation presents an opportunity for small and mid-sized glass fabrication companies to significantly enhance their operational efficiency. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as order entry, inventory/cycle counting, cutting, sorting, racking, and assembling glass components, companies can reduce production time and minimize errors. For example, when you can streamline inventory/cycle counting, you increase employee & overall factory efficiency, reduce manual matching or chaotic inventory adjustments, and eliminate erroneous data. These advantages of automation are particularly crucial in an industry where precision and consistency are paramount.

Software is a key player in this automation transformation offering state-of-the-art solutions designed to seamlessly integrate with the specific needs of companies in the glass industry. Software solutions empower companies of all sizes to optimize their production processes, from order entry to delivery, fostering a more efficient and error-free workflow.

Scalable Solutions for All Sizes

Depending on the software provider, they might offer software solutions that allow for scalability, making these software solutions equally beneficial for small, medium, and large flat glass fabricators. By crafting software solutions that address the diverse needs of companies within the industry, software providers can tailor their software’s functionality to address the specific requirements and scale of the company.

Here, it is best to contact each software provider individually to find out how their software scales to meet your company’s specific needs. For example, some software solutions might work best for smaller fabricators, while others might offer solutions for the entire gambit of fabricators from small and mid-sized fabricators to enterprise sized fabricators. Additionally, some companies might offer an all-in-one system, while others offer a modular system allowing you to plug and play so to speak.

Embracing Automation: A Game-Changer for Glass Companies of All Sizes

Reducing Labor Dependence and Costs

Automation not only streamlines processes, it also addresses challenges related to the labor shortage the industry is experiencing. In a time where finding skilled labor is increasingly challenging, automation (sometimes in conjunction with robots) provides a reliable solution. For example, automation of CNC steering allows fabrications to be called from a scanned lite and tooling is automatically arranged, resulting in higher CNC throughput without having to program on the shop floor, thus allowing the software to function as an additional skilled laborer on your shop floor.

Depending on the software provider, you can find software that enables your company to process the above example or reduce dependence on manual labor for repetitive tasks, all of which allows skilled employees to focus on more complex and value-added aspects of production.

By minimizing labor costs associated with mundane tasks, your company can allocate resources more efficiently, investing in employee training and development, which will allow you to enhance overall workforce capabilities. This shift towards a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce contributes to sustained growth and innovation within your company and the industry as a whole.

Realizing the Future of Automation

Automation is no longer a luxury reserved for large enterprises; it is a necessity for small to mid-sized companies aiming to stay competitive and thrive in a rapidly evolving market. Software solutions that address the use of automation offer a pathway to realizing these goals, providing scalable, efficient, and cost-effective solutions that empower companies, such as yours, to unlock their full potential. As the glass industry continues to advance, those who embrace automation today are laying the foundation for a more efficient, resilient, and innovative future.

*This blog was originally written for the National Glass Association.

Embracing Automation: A Game-Changer for Glass Companies of All Sizes

 

AUTHOR: CHRIS KAMMER

Chris Kammer

Chris Kammer is the marketing lead for A+W Software North America. Kammer can be reached at chris.kammer@a-w.com and 847/220-5237.

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