The human factor in manufacturing: when to automate and when not to

The human factor in manufacturing: when to automate and when not to

April 2024

Knowing your workforce and the full range of the job they do is crucial says 42T's manufacturing expert, David Griffin. When to use automation - and when not to - is critical in manufacturing.

"It seems obvious not to mess with things that you don't fully understand, for instance, pulling out a car part without first knowing its purpose or how to replace it. And yet, every day, some highly educated people do something similar but in their area of work," maintains David Griffin.

"For example, online service wizards sometimes tweak features thereby alienating loyal users or when thriving companies merge and end up damaging what made their successful companies as they failed to appreciate their company culture or what it was that made the company successful in the first place."

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In his article, David Griffin, one of 42 Technology’s principle consultants, explores 5 key points to bear in mind when thinking about whether to replace the human factor in manufacturing with automation, including:

  • Human insights vs automation
  • Worker's unconscious expertise
  • Automation blind spots
  • Outside perspectives
  • Why you should understand first, tinker later

As published in Manufacturing Management magazine (March/April issue 2024) click to read in full. Also published in this month's Made in Ireland magazine.

PDF download: Manufacturing Management - Human Factor article by David Griffin

Manufacturing Management cover

David Griffin

If you would like to find out more, please contact David: | +44 (0)1480 302700 |

David is a Principle Consultant at 42 Technology and is an industry experienced mechanical engineer. He has spent a decade developing bespoke test and assembly automation in diverse fields ranging from motor winding to asthma inhaler manufacture. Also, several years developing and optimising solvent removal technology and continuous chemistry systems.

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