Kevin Pecha, a sales engineer at AZO Inc, participated in Commercial Baking’s TechTalk webisode to examine the potential of automation in alleviating labor shortages within the bulk ingredient handling industry. While automation cannot instantaneously address these labor shortages, Mr. Pecha suggests that with appropriate planning and execution, it can help mitigate some of the issues associated with it.
Examining the Current Issue with Labor
Labor shortages are caused by multiple factors such as reliability, high turnover rates, multi-generational attitudes, and lack of training, which can lead to labor supply issues. Mr. Pecha asserts that developing a functional plan for streamlining manual processes could help reduce direct labor, allowing management to deal with the burden on dissatisfied and undertrained employees.
Short- and Long-Term Solutions with Automation
By targeting repetitive tasks such as mixing, weighing, and batching, short-term improvements can be achieved. In the long-term, the replacement of legacy equipment can help further reduce labor issues through a comprehensive master plan.
Limitations/Realizations to Automation Plans
Nonetheless, Mr. Pecha cautions that limitations exist, including the need for a significant change in mentality to accept technology, high capital requirements, and finding vendors with a track record in creating comprehensive automation plans. Nevertheless, AZO has such a proven track record. With over 70 years of experience, AZO can assist commercial bakers to design and plan automation systems to help achieve independence from common labor issues.
To watch the TechTalk in it’s entirety, click the play button below: