Being a company that specializes in Automation, AB Controls, Inc. realizes that there are many benefits to using automation in your laboratory, manufacturing plant, hospital, and etc. So over the next week and a half we are going to focus on three key topics surrounding automation, efficiency, repeatability, and injury prevention. This is part 1: How Automation Increases Efficiency and Decreases Costs.
A study conducted by the Medical Automation Research Center at the University of Virginia is going to help us prove our points about efficiency. The chart below shows the results per worked hour for the least efficient to the most efficient laboratories. As you can notice, the least efficient laboratories produce around 6 units per work hour where as the most efficient can produce up to 30 units.
Additionally, all laboratories have two key costs in common, labor and supplies. The below chart at first glance appears to show a significant difference between the least efficient and the most efficient laboratories in terms of cost per reportable result. The least efficient racks up a labor cost of 64%, but comparatively, the most efficient laboratory labor constitutes over 68%. Although this may seem odd the distinguishing factor is that the most efficient laboratory has a total cost drop of almost 75%.
The previously mentioned data only refers to efficiency without the use of automation. The M.A.R.C. conducted a study to compare a United States laboratory that uses no automation compared to a Japanese laboratory that uses automation. As you can see the labor costs are nearly cut in half.
|USA Lab||No Automation||159,000 Specimens||286 Technologists||$12.06 Million|
|Japan Lab||Uses Automation||169,000 Specimens||85 Technologists||$6.7 Million|
The M.A.R.C. also conducted a study at a hospital by comparing human couriers to 6 robots on the basis of average turnaround time for delivery and average annual costs. As it turns out, with the use the couriers it takes about 30 minutes for turn around time and costs approximately $450,000 annually. For the robots it has a turn around time of 15 minutes and costs roughly $175,000. This means you cut your delivery turn around time in half and you save $275,000.
Now it is easy to see the effect of automation on efficiency and costs. However what this study doesn’t really address is the cost associated with purchasing automated alternatives. Not all companies have millions of dollars in the yearly budget to have custom built automation solutions. So for companies that have shallow pockets it becomes critical to increase efficiency through your work force. This will ultimately have a similar effect on efficiency and costs even if it isn’t as significant.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our three part series. Thanks again to the Medical Automation Research Center at the University of Virginia for their excellent research. For your automation needs or questions visit us at www.abcontrols.com.