Every successful manufacturing company knows that cost considerations don’t end with direct costs. Maintenance costs and manufacturing overhead balloon operations costs and per product prices while increasing the burden of site operations. Heavier regulations, environmental concerns, low oil prices, old energy sites and pressures to adopt renewable energy and new technology pressure sites to innovate and narrow their overhead.
In fact, utilities companies in North America are under increased pressure to trim the fat to meet the commitments of investors with reports estimating that they will need to cut $15 billion – approximately 20% of operation and maintenance costs – in the next five years to keep up.
But with the rising use of advanced drone systems in manufacturing operations, companies can more effectively cut down on manufacturing overhead costs and improve—not sacrifice—quality and efficiency. Drones fit into the inevitable trend toward automation in manufacturing, a movement 80% of companies recognize as beneficial to their supply chain in the end.
Here are 5 ways that embracing drone-in-a-box technologies can improve your operations and save you money along the way.
1. Extend the Life Cycle of Vital Equipment
Possibly the greatest factory cost for manufacturing operations is the inevitable depreciation and obsolescence of equipment and facilities, particularly those exposed to the outdoors. As equipment is used more and more for production, and are worn down by weather and traffic, company owners are faced with costly repairs or replacement needs because of a system that is reactive to depreciation, rather than proactive.
For example, if a company has a total manufacturing cost of $1.13 million per year, they may record a $260,000 manufacturing overhead. Of this overhead, the depreciation of the factory building and its equipment could be as much as $50,000 using traditional, reactive inspections.
While advanced drone-in-a-box technologies can’t make your equipment immortal, it can increase the life cycle by decreasing the frequency at which it needs to be replaced through preventative maintenance and operational insight.
With advanced drone technology, companies can cut down on manufacturing overhead costs by sending their drones out on automatic, pre-scheduled inspection missions to keep tabs on possible issues before they become actual problems.
During these missions, drone-in-a-box technologies are constantly collecting real-time data about the equipment status. As soon as a change or damage is detected a report is sent and reported back to the necessary staff members to evaluate the severity. These insights both provide early notification and change the way site operations are conducted, yielding increased efficiency while lessening the workload on equipment and extending its life.
For example, a company finds out through drone inspection that a fuel tank placed by the ocean has suffered from roof-top corrosion, compromising its water resistance. Using this insight gained from the inspection, the company can position future sites differently to prevent this issue.
2. Cut Down on Safety and Personal Protection Equipment Costs
Staff members often must carry out dangerous work in the name of maintenance and safety inspection work in manufacturing operations, requiring robust insurance and personal protection equipment. If an employee gets injured during one of these inspections, the company may face costs from workers’ comp claims, too.
By using drone-in-a-box solutions to respond to maintenance and safety inspection needs, operators can generally prevent exposing their teams to dangerous situations, such as:
- Hazardous material exposure
- High temperatures
- Malfunctioning line equipment
This translates to decreased dependency on advanced personal protection equipment as drones handle the work instead.
3. Reduce the Costs of On-Site Surveillance
As automation has reduced the direct labor cost of manufacturing goods, it makes sense to embrace autonomous drone solutions such as drone-in-a-box technologies to reduce manufacturing overhead.
By embracing advanced drone solutions, companies can replace on-site surveillance cameras, reduce the work of positioning them and see less of costly sensor cleaning cycles. Instead, drone in-box-technologies can carry out pre-scheduled missions to support:
- Security surveillance
- Safety inspections
- Quality control inspections data collection
- Operations inspections
And they can do this all while providing valuable data along the way. By assigning single or multiple drones to carry out routine safety and maintenance inspections, you reduce the need to pay for staff to fix unexpected equipment failure in the future.
4. Ease Regulatory Compliance
Compared to other industries, manufacturing bears the brunt of costs related to regulatory compliance. Manufacturers spend an estimated $192 billion annually to comply with a variety of regulatory standards from environmental to safety to economic compliance.
Part of this hefty cost is consulting and hiring legal and regulatory experts to avoid fines if companies don’t meet these standards. Not only do these costs impact the individual bottom line of companies, but they can hinder their ability to compete domestically and internationally in their industry.
In 2007, U.S. manufacturers shelled out 6.2% of value-added-revenue to meet air and water emission standards, while their international competitors were able to stay under 6% of value added in their own countries. With traditional means of monitoring compliance and hiring experts, it can be difficult to cut down this expense enough to make a price-point difference.
By incorporating advanced drone solutions into operations, companies and their operators can reduce the need for human experts and informal inspections by using the technology’s up-to-date software to ensure their facilities are up to par with local regulation.
By receiving data reports from pre-scheduled missions, operators receive proactive alerts about facility operations that risk violating regulations, as well as data that show where safety and environmental efforts can be improved. These capabilities don’t just cut down the cost of paying experts for similar insight, but considerably lower the risk of compliance-related fines in the future.
5. Make Factory Management and Data Collection More Cost Effective
The key to creating profitable business practices lies in the data you can collect about your operations. Collecting and interpreting large amounts of it is difficult with manual efforts alone, and often results in data points being overlooked and omitted.
Through pre-schedule data gathering missions, advance drone solutions can collect a variety of data on key production KPIs, such as:
- Overall labor effectiveness;
- Capacity utilization rate;
- Manufacturing process cycle time;
- Material rejection and scrap;
- Emission rates;
- Inventory management; and
- Safety near-misses.
For instance, companies that are concerned with their emission rates can use automated drone technology to monitor rates, as well as identify operational practices that are creating unnecessarily high emissions. With this information, operators can correct or adopt new practices to remedy high emissions, avoiding regulatory and finance penalties down the road.
Not only does this cut down on the paid man-hours spent collecting this information manually, it provides a more in-depth look at what is working and what opportunities exist to improve factory cost and output efficiencies.
Percepto’s Drone-in-a-Box Solution Makes Your Manufacturing Operation More Profitable
Drone-in-a-box solutions, such as the Percepto Solution, are drone technologies that operate with the use of a launch base that charges and communicates with an autonomous drone using a cloud management system.
These systems allow companies to combat equipment and facility depreciation, avoid legal and regulatory fees, avoid paying staff for menial work, prevent costly environmental and safety incidents and more.
Percepto’s advanced autonomous drone in-box-solution provides intelligent, multi-mission capabilities powered by our proprietary PerceptoCore™ technology, helping companies collect robust, comprehensive data about their operations and have insights sent to operators in real time.
Made up of the Percepto Base, Percepto Cloud Management System, and Sparrow autonomous drone, our solution will save your operation time and money while maintaining and improving ongoing operations and activities.
Contact us today to learn more about how the Percepto Solution can slash your manufacturing overhead costs and propel your operation forward.