As a newbie in the Industrial Automation & Controls Industry, I am still grappling at the nuances of this industry and while it will take me more than my engineering degree to completely understand this industry, I decided to learn using the only method conducive to a marketing person (i.e talking to the industry veterans). The area I was more interested in was the “issues facing the Industrial Automation Sector” because you see, understanding that holds the key to forming successful marketing strategies.
So after a very long and definitely intriguing session, we arrive at the following issues, which we feel form the core of the issues:
- Workforce: At a first glance, you might say that this issue has been grappling every industry. Well for Industrial Automation, this issue is the biggest one because this industry requires hands-on experienced engineers and integrators. The factors which make this issue even more formidable are the lack of interest among younger generations, field training is costly and gathering experience takes years.
- Brand loyalty: In an age where companies are employing techniques to retain customer loyalty, this industry has absolutely no problem in that department. But that means it’s equally challenging to introduce a new brand to your customers. A customer using brand “X” product will be very reluctant to switch over to brand “Y” for the same product line which means being a new entry in this sector would require a deliverance of much better values and services than the existing ones.
- Acceptability of Automation: You can be inside warehouses, workshops or factory floor and still not see full-scale automation. Now a company can certainly survive without automation but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t automate your operations. Factors stopping business owners from giving into automation are cost, lack of faith, pre-conceived notion of automation being unnecessary, etc.
- The balance of price and quality: Hands down Industrial Automation products have to be at the highest quality but to make that available at a competitive price is what makes the road murkier for the sales and marketing teams. With businesses going online, maintaining that balance and providing the customer with value can be quite a daunting task.
- Upgrading: Industrial automation still relies heavily on traditional equipment, primarily due to, Cost of upgrading and training staff new equipment. But sticking to existing & old equipment has its own perils like maintenance costs, some parts may become obsolete, the breakdown of equipment in the middle of the project and many more.
The industrial automation sector is facing many challenges, but there is a bright future ahead. Through technological advances, the industry will be able to overcome its challenges.