WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF AUTOMATION
“Before we begin implementation, we need to see the worst that can happen to you in operation. Open and sincere communication with the integrator is the basis for a successful project," said Igor Zahrádka about the experience of our colleagues with automation and robotization in the environment of small and medium-sized companies at the FENOMÉN conference in Zlín on 24 March 2022. He gave a lecture on this topic together with his colleague Pavel Gülich.
The aim of the conference, which was attended by representatives of more than 40 Czech companies, is to share information and approaches to the digital transformation process, find DNA flexibility and uncover elements of success and competitiveness. After two years, the conference traditionally took place in the premises of Tomas Bata University in Zlín. The first part was dedicated to the current situation and the macroeconomic perspective. Military General Petr Pavel, Milena Jabůrková for the PaDČR Association and the Chief Economist of the Czech Savings Bank David Navrátil appeared on stage. Her contributions focused on leadership, digital transformation and the Czech Republic's prosperity index. The themes of education and cooperation between business and the public sector ran like a thread through the conference and the final discussion.
Our contribution, which the participants could hear on the Business Stage and the Industry Stage, focused on the experience of introducing new technologies into production in the environment of small and medium-sized enterprises. The main topics of the presentation were:
- what to look for when choosing an automation strategy
- what are the most common birth pains and how to prevent them
- what information from you the system integrator cannot do without
INTRODUCTION OF THE SPEAKERS
Igor Zahrádka has been working in the field of industrial automation for almost 30 years . In 2004 he joined B:TECH, a mechanical engineering company in Havlíčkův Brod, which he has managed since 2011. B:TECH is a company that values teamwork and open dialogue. Igor has long supported activities that focus on technical education and the internal development of technical know-how. He was at the birth of the Electrical Engineering Club for children and young people and internal colleagues His vision is a long-term sustainable business.
INTRODUCTION OF THE SPEAKERS
Before joining B:TECH, where he is head of the robotisation department, worked for 17 years in production management and implementation of automation solutions at Procter & Gamble. At the conference, he shared with the audience specific stories and experiences he has gathered both in the context of systems integration and from the perspective of a production manager.
YOU CAN'T BREAK THROUGH A WALL WITH YOUR HEAD, BUT YOU CAN JUMP OVER IT
We talked about the investment strategies we face in the market. There is a world of difference between the scenario of an ideal world, where investments increase depending on the availability of labour and labour costs, and rescue operations, which involve investments in resources and know-how. Investors who have been hesitant must now prepare for major one-off investments in both technology and people. It was also said that it is the responsibility of management to set the vision and strategy for automation and that they should make it clear whether they will rely on autonomous operations, labour market or a combination of both approaches in the future.
DISHONESTY HAS ITS PRICE
One of the main ideas of the contribution was the call for open and honest communication with the system integrator.
"Open communication is the basis for the success of any project. Before we start the implementation, we need to see the worst that can happen to you in operation. When you present your processes to us, be honest with yourself and with us. In practice, we often experience that the operator describes his wishes of how his operation should work, and not the reality. You pay for this dishonesty later," Igor Zahrádka summarised our experience.
DON'T FORGET THE PEOPLE ON YOUR WAY
We also talked about the change of context. Even a robot is not an island unto itself. Successful is not only the conceptual approach, but also the involvement of the team already in the production phase of new devices. We also talked about the adjustment of the KPIs and the motivation of the employees from the operational area during the introduction phase.
"The introduction of automation and new technologies in production is a change that needs to be reflected at a system level and also in the composition of the team that will work with the technologies. It doesn't end with implementation, don't forget your staff along the way," Pavel Gülich emphasised the conceptual approach.
The questions of the moderators and the audience were mainly focused on the comparison of the experiences with Czech and foreign investors and the motivation of the company employees during the adoption phase.
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