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Automation Technology & Business Operations

September 14, 2023

Process automation can and does mean anything from data collection, repetitive manufacturing or maintenance task execution, service organization reporting, software testing and deployment and more.

For operations monitoring in particular, and for automation in general, there are three principles that should be followed as a guide to success.

  1. To successfully automate a task, you must understand in principle how to perform the work manually. With data collection, you need to have a clear picture of the thing or activity, its attribute, the type and units of measure, and the measurement method. Automation is a tool that allows one to perform the work of many.
  2. You must keep the focus on the ‘why’ of automating a manual process. In the case of data collection, does automation produce information that is more timely, more accurate and less expensive than other means?
  3. You must periodically audit the automated process from the ground up. With data collection, you need to audit the flow of data from the point measurement takes place, up through any rollups, summary statistics and reporting. (See #1)

Finally, with operations monitoring automation, remember that the goal is conceptual understanding and ideas that are useful/actionable. Don’t ‘bury the lead’ in pages and pages of unnecessary reporting, data analysis and out-of-context graphics.

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