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Automation in manufacturing: the forgotten fifth element

Millie Collier
Written by: Millie Collier
Length: 4 min read
Date: 20 Apr 2023

Automated technologies have been widely adopted by the manufacturing industry to increase efficiency. In fact, 76% of manufacturers use at least one of the four types of automation to improve shop floor productivity. But manufacturers are forgetting a crucial fifth aspect of automation that can drive further growth for their business: marketing automation. 

There is no doubt that automation in manufacturing can improve productivity and drive growth for businesses across the industry. But manufacturers seem to be forgetting one particular automation type that has the potential to drive business growth. 

In one 2019 report, it was found that improving shop floor productivity is 1.4 times more important to manufacturers than making marketing improvements to drive more sales leads. We’re here to fight the good fight, and get manufacturers prioritising the fifth element of automation - marketing automation.

Marketing automation, implemented through a CRM system such as HubSpot, has many of the same benefits for a manufacturing company as traditional automation, and could have an equal potential for driving growth by assisting not the engineers, by automating not production, but your sales and marketing efforts. 

 

automation in manufacturing

In this article, we will cover the four types of automation in the manufacturing industry that you know. Then, we’ll introduce marketing automation, explain how it fits in and explore the benefits it can bring to your manufacturing business. 

 

THE FOUR TYPES OF AUTOMATION IN THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY:

There are typically four main types of automation found in the manufacturing industry:

  1. Fixed automation
  2. Programmable automation
  3. Flexible automation
  4. Integrated automation

Let's explore these automation types in some more detail. 

 

Flexible automation

Fixed automation (also called ‘hard automation’) is where the system is designed to perform a single set of tasks repeatedly. Fixed automation involves using machines specifically designed and built to perform a particular function or set of functions. Fixed automation systems can be found in production lines that require high initial investment and production rates, for example, in automotive manufacturing. 

 

Programmable automation:

Programmable automation differs from fixed automation in that the production can be adjusted or controlled using computer programming. This allows for customisation and can be useful in low-volume, high-variety production manufacturing processes, such as electronics, aerospace, and medical devices.

 

Flexible automation:

Flexible automation combines the benefits of programmable and fixed automation technology, making it possible to manufacture in high volumes with high variety, meanwhile reducing the need for human intervention to re-programme the system. It Has the ability to quickly adapt to changing specifications, such as different chemical dosages in medical manufacturing. 

 

Integrated automation:

Integrated automation is a key technology for modern manufacturing processes, and refers to how different softwares and systems can be connected to manage production with a more holistic approach. Rather than focusing on the automation of one aspect of production, integrated automation gives greater control and visibility over the whole process, from production lines and equipment to inventory management.

 

THE BENEFITS OF AUTOMATION IN MANUFACTURING

All of the four types of automation provide at least one of these benefits to manufacturers:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased consistency
  • Greater flexibility and customisation
  • Increased cost savings

Automation drives these benefits by enabling you to make better, data-driven decisions to manage the manufacturing process. And marketing automation is no different. 

WHAT IS MARKETING AUTOMATION IN MANUFACTURING?

Put simply, marketing automation refers to the software and processes used to automate sales and marketing tasks.

This can include:

  • Email marketing
  • Sales emails and sequences
  • Lead scoring
  • Lead nurturing
  • Automating contact and lead management
  • Automating sales processes
  • Data on your prospects' behaviour
  • Personalised and consistent marketing messaging
  • Automated enquiry processing

The potential for marketing automation is truly endless. And the benefits of marketing automation mirror the benefits of the more traditional automation in manufacturing:

1. Increased productivity

Marketing automation in manufacturing will increase the productivity of your sales team by automating lead nurturing, which in turn increases the quality of your leads. 

Did you know that switching gears and needing to log into different tools can take up to 40% of a sales reps time? With HubSpot's marketing automation software, everything you need is in one place.  

2. Improve efficiency

46% of marketers take more time preparing and segmenting data than any other task - imagine if this could be automated?

Marketing automation isn't just beneficial to marketers. This benefit is passed through to the sales team, too. It can log and track all of your contact data, including emails and phone calls, so sales can be picked up at any time, by anyone. Conversion rates increase and sales cycles reduce because of consistent messaging and greater data insight.  

3. Greater flexibility & customisation

Marketing automation saves manufacturers sales & marketing teams' time by sending out personalised, consistent messaging - allowing you to be ‘always-on’ even outside of working hours.

4. Reduced cost

There’s an initial investment to the software, but in the long term, you see savings. What sales and marketing do with their time becomes more valuable. For example, brand awareness and lead generation increases because your marketing team can automate social posts and email marketing, allowing them to focus on creating stand-out campaigns that are going to generate leads for the business, and not be bogged down by the important but repetitive tasks. 

 


 

Marketing automation is most closely represented by integrated automation systems, like HubSpot. With this software, you can not only automate repetitive marketing tasks, but you can integrate it with existing software within your manufacturing business for greater efficiency, control, and data visibility. With HubSpot, you can even automate the customer service experience. 

Marketing automation is the missing puzzle piece to take your manufacturing business to the next level. It will change the game for your sales and marketing teams in the same way that it took your production processes to new heights. 

If you want to learn more about marketing automation, get in touch with us today. 

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Millie Collier Marketing Manager