One of the hardest parts of moving your manufacturing operation into the current century is the process of justifying the investment in integrated automation. If your company is like most it will require that there be well defined economic justification for a capital expenditure for integrated automation.
Any of the automation projects that your company may contemplate undertaking should be preceded by some very specific questions and explicit answers. First of all you need to determine what the objective is for wanting to take on any of the automation projects. More specifically, what is the competitive edge that you are trying to achieve by automating some part of your business.