Cutting Labor Cost with Technology

It’s a regrettable fact that many businesses have difficulty maintaining a labor force of necessary size to carry out all the tasks that need to get done. Payroll costs tend to cut deeply into company revenues, and it’s not uncommon for businesses to find themselves struggling to stay afloat as a direct consequence. But an increasing number of companies are turning to automated solutions as a way of reducing the expenses related to supporting employees. As technological advances continue to develop, it’s likely that automation will play a progressively larger role in the corporate world. As things stand now, business owners already have access to many kinds of automated solutions that can cut costs substantially. Let’s take a look at a few of these solutions.

CNC machines

Many businesses use industrial machinery to create precisely crafted tools and objects—screws, for example. It may be that producing these objects for public sale is the primary purpose of the company, while in other cases the company simply creates these kinds of tools for its own internal use. Traditionally, these products were made with the help of manually operated lathes and milling machines, which allow the user to shape the raw materials by cutting it with a special tool. But any company that is serious about the quality of the products they manufacture should look into the advantages provided by Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology.

As the name suggests, CNC lathes and milling machines use computers to guide their processes. This confers a variety of benefits, such as eliminating the possibility of human error (assuming that the machine has been properly programmed) and increased production speeds (as computers can perform actions much more quickly than people). CNC machinery is already widely used in production environments that involve large volumes of material, but many smaller shops haven’t yet made the transition from manually operated lathes and milling machines. Cost is a common reason for this reluctance—CNC machines can be fairly pricey. Yet these expenses will likely be recouped by lower labor costs, as this equipment requires minimal human involvement. In the long run, CNC automated machines save money by reducing the need for trained operators.

Automated Online Assistants

These days, most businesses have a presence on the Internet—usually a dedicated website that illustrates and explains the products and/or services offered by the organization. Many website visitors, however, have unanswered questions even after thoroughly exploring the site. For this reason, a lot of companies employ customer service agents who field calls and emails from clients. Naturally, these agents cost money, and often it’s impractical to provide these services on a 24/7 basis. Automated online assistants provide a cost-effective solution.

Essentially, an automated online assistant is a program deployed on websites to interact with customers, answering their questions and comments with the use of artificial intelligence. These assistants often take the form of an avatar that appears on the customer’s screen, inviting them to type a question into a text field. A good program will be able to supply a wide range of relevant information, in a format that mimics a conversation between two people. This means that a company doesn’t need to have a human customer service agent on staff to perform these functions—which saves money in payroll expenses. Better yet, these programs work around the clock.

Conveyor Systems

For many production and distribution facilities, optimizing workflow is an ongoing concern. It can be difficult to push products in a timely fashion through the various stages they must pass before arriving in the hands of customers. The costs of maintaining a workforce competent to perform the necessary duties—e.g., fabricating, assembling, and packaging—can be prohibitive. Once again, modern technology supplies a viable answer.

In a facility where important tasks must be carried out in a speedy manner, a top-notch conveyor system can make the difference between profit and failure. Fundamentally, conveyors use tracks to carry products from one area of a facility to another. These systems may be manual or automated, and when used properly they offer a huge number of benefits. These systems transport materials without the need for human hands; this means that there is no risk of damaged goods due to employee mishandling. It also reduces the chances of employee injury. When the systems are automated, the company also gains from the elimination of production defects caused by human misjudgment—unlike people, machines do not become fatigued from repetitive tasks. In addition, overhead conveyors allow businesses to save valuable floor space.

Most importantly, however, conveyor systems can do most of the tasks that in the past required a large workforce—and do them much faster than human beings ever could. Furthermore, conveyors can be set to operate on a 24/7 basis, performing vital actions—coating, welding, bending, storing, and much more—without the need for continual human supervision. The equipment efficiently does its duty at every station. As many types of industries can benefit from conveyor systems, this is a viable option for a lot of companies that need to save on labor costs.