The goal of producers everywhere has always been to achieve the largest amount of a certain type of quality good in the shortest time possible, with the fewest costs along the way. This is true if they are in the business of discount postcard printing or a water treatment chemical supplier. Underlying this goal is the fact that time is money; the more units of a given product that can be created in a certain amount of time, the more money the sale of those products will afford. It is more cost efficient for a developer to build a high rise condo building then a set of townhomes on the same amount of space. Industry, then, has always had at its heart a desire to find more efficient means of production in order to get goods to the masses.
This basic principle can be seen in every good that we buy as consumers today, from bottles of pop to the cds of group collaboration software for the office. Everything is created on some sort of assembly line, and those assembly lines are powered by machines. In addition, the work that takes place at each stop on the assembly line is generally completed by some kind of machine, typically in an industrial setting the machines that carry out the assembly line work are some type of robotics (machines with moving parts).
Machines increase the efficiency of industry in several different ways. First of all, machines at their heart are built to be efficient. They do not need to take a break (well, not as long as a human break would be when working at the same speed anyway) and no concessions or allowances need to be made for the emotional needs of machinery. If you want a job to get done, all you have to do with a machine is buy it and then work it; there is no worry about ongoing pay, strikes, breaks, shifts, inter-machine tension, and so on. Machines do one thing and one thing only, and that is work. You just couldn't ask for anything more efficient than that! If you want to see how machines are working for you, just visit your local kitchen store or growers supplies. Imagine doing all of that work around the house by hand.
Machines are also more efficient in that they reduce the number of errors that can occur with a product, and that means less money spent in recalls, customer refunds and other forms of corrective measures. It is true that, if a machine is programmed wrong, it can produce many more defective products than a human mistake would have, but the key is to make sure the machine is programmed to the correct specifications. There is no training, no learning curve, and no limit on production due to capacity in the same way as there is with human workers. For example, take the seemingly simple task of business card printing. If someone had to hand print every card, it would be likely that some would come out wrong. With machines, once you get the first one right all of the others after it will be the exact same.
Finally, efficiency today means more than just production. Efficiency in industry also means limiting the overhead costs of an operation as much as possible. Machines will save a lot of money in labour, and they will also allow human workers to apply brains more than hands (which many could justifiably say was the inevitable end result of the evolution of our species anyway) This allows for their to be innovations such as online software for project collaboration and wastewater treatment chemicals to help us live easier and more sustained lives. Machines can also allow industry to be more efficient in terms of environmental damage and the production of waste.
There tends to be some lingering resentment towards machines used to boost efficiency in industry, but by and large this resentment has been without cause. Machines make jobs safer for workers and allow those workers to use intellectual rather than manual labour more often. And, of course, the increased efficiency of industry today has led to affordable prices in a very wide range of products. All of these benefits are the direct result of the use of various machines in industry.