Digitalization has caused many changes in every industry. Increased productivity is the most obvious proof of this. However, there is so much more to this concept. Due to improved data collection and analytics, manufacturing companies can level up the quality of their work as well; not just the speed of production.
The trick is a smart software system that links all the components together. This allows for the best possible results, such as maximum productivity and profitability. Accepting new technologies has become an integral part of every industry. The transformation is inevitable, and here is why it’s worth it.
What is Smart Manufacturing?
Smart manufacturing is a concept that refers to the marketing processes of digitalization. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. The term encompasses various technologies and solutions, as well as their combinations. It affects every part of the process – production, logistics, distribution, supply chains, sales, and stocking.
All the technologies and solutions smart manufacturing uses are called “enablers”. Blockchain, IIoT, AI, Robotics, Cybersecurity, and condition monitoring are all enablers in the market today. Their purpose in the industry is to increase profits. This is simply done through the optimization of the process.
Through these enablers, smart manufacturing can connect equipment and software. Working as a team, they achieve breathtaking results. Recording, reporting, and analyzing streams of data is faster and more precise. There is no fear of error, as these results are always accurate. All of this makes the decision-making process easier and more effective.
The utilization of new technologies allows for companies to stay above the competition. Today, there are plenty of similar businesses. This is a secure way to stand out and provide service and products of the highest quality. These technologies can make any business more efficient and profitable.
Benefits of Smart Manufacturing
Productivity is the number one benefit of smart manufacturing. The reason is simple – every part of the process is improved and accelerated. Since certain parts of the manufacturing process are automated, the responsibilities are better divided. For instance, the human part of the workforce can take on more important or complex tasks. They no longer have to waste time. Automation can help the logistical process as well.
Since the production process is improved, the service part of the business will be improved as well. Tracking orders, for example, is getting more effective than ever. Orders can be made rapidly, and they can be fulfilled instantaneously. Thanks to these changes, companies can reduce waste and be even more helpful to their clients and customers.
Manual input can slow things down significantly in a company. Plenty of repetitive processes can wear people down. Due to this, the human workforce may experience loss of concentration, reduced attention span, impaired memory, and fatigue. When all of this happens, mistakes are inevitable. Automation facilitates the process for the human part of the workforce. Not only that, but it also reduces the chances of errors to the minimum.
No matter how repetitive or boring data entry may be, a machine won’t mind! That means that the data entered by the new technologies are more accurate. Since the possibility of errors is reduced, the results are as accurate as they can be. Since the data collection is perfected, decision-making will be strengthened by accurate information. This allows a company to make better decisions and see the results quicker.
Internet of Things
The IoT (internet of things) is what connects every device, machine, and process and makes data communication simpler and more transparent. The systems are all communicating thanks to the smart manufacturing software. Connectors with sensors on every piece of equipment generate the data. All the relevant pieces of information are then transferred to the software systems. When data is analyzed, it goes back as feedback for correction, if necessary.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a vital part of manufacturing processes today. When organizations can’t increase production, they can turn to IIoT to increase profits in other ways. However, not many organizations have implemented this technology. The basic design of machines in older organizations might come in the way of this implementation. Organizations of more recent date can have this issue sorted out easily.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Even though the concept of artificial intelligence has been with us for quite some time, it is just now starting to grow in the manufacturing industry. The last couple of years have shown a growing interest and investment when it comes to AI in manufacturing. The biggest advantage of AI is its affordability. Systems for data storing and sensors for data-generating are all low-cost.
Other benefits of AI implementation in manufacturing are analyzing data accurately and efficiently, making decisions, and enabling predictive maintenance. The last concept – predictive maintenance – helps determine machine performance, breakdown, and operating conditions. It can be applied to any piece of equipment, and it does it all in real-time. The increased use of robotics and computer vision technology also shows that AI is finding its place in the manufacturing industry.
Automation is the key part of the digitalization of the manufacturing processes. It gives more tasks to the robots, making the humans less overwhelmed with the work. Data collection and analysis are mostly repetitive processes. Lots of similar pieces of information can be confusing sometimes. Even if they aren’t, humans waste their time on these simple tasks.
Automation allows for people to focus on tasks that require more critical or creative ways of thinking. Cutting on wasting valuable resources such as time and human skills will result in a more efficient workspace. Automation can help to streamline the processes instantaneously and, of course, increase the profit!
More productivity isn’t the only thing an organization gets due to smart manufacturing. It also allows the organization to save resources such as space and money. For instance, cloud storage can be advantageous when it comes to storing data. This helps free the space on-site and save some money at the same time.
Not only that, but this is also a perfect way to improve data security. Cloud security is so efficient since it links multiple locations and connects and combines the data. This brings a holistic view of the business and the processes related to it. The status of the business is, thus, transparent.
Smart manufacturing is a rapidly changing industry. Thanks to modern technologies, businesses can stay up to date and stand out in the market. Humans in the industry do not have to carry the unnecessary burden, and their time can be devoted for much better purposes. The usage of new technologies has transformed the manufacturing processes for the better, and it just keeps improving!
Rick Seidl is a digital marketing specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media and
Communications, based in Portland, Oregon. With a burning passion for digital marketing, social media, small business development, and establishing its presence in a digital world, he is currently quenching his thirst through writing about digital marketing and business strategies for Find Digital Agency.