Big changes are expected in manufacturing as the combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation is reshaping the manufacturing supply chain and manufacturing itself.
Don't let the idea of factory automation give the wrong impression. Not all types of automation were conceived to eliminate human effort and remove people from factories. In fact, many of today's technologies are redesigning manufacturing, creating completely new disciplines and skillsets, and many require even newer qualifications and experienced professionals in programming industrial robots and industrial automation systems. change. Let's see what they are.
Reducing uncertainty in complex processes
Much of the analysis currently available suggests that many jobs that require low-skilled and repetitive human effort will be eliminated altogether in the coming decades. This change, of course, has a positive effect on the human industry. This should put an end to the many types of preventable mistakes that lead to product recalls, loss of resources, injury or poor working conditions for employees, and other big and small annoyances for both employees and employers.
Automation is useful not only for manufacturing itself, but for several other industries that support the jobs it depends on, such as trucking, assembly, mining, resource extraction, resource planning, inspections, retail, and much more.
Industrial Supply Chain Automation
Here are several ways that automation can play a role in a typical manufacturing supply chain:
1. Multi-vendor workflows: Many manufacturers rely on multiple partners for sourcing raw materials, moving work-in-progress, external testing, paperwork, currency exchange, and more. Automation can intervene and make some routing decisions without human attention and even perform some of the necessary checks, such as route planning, thereby reducing potential errors and other slowdowns.
2. Proactive sourcing: A data-driven approach to supplier management will also help manufacturing companies better anticipate component shortages that could affect them in the future. This approach can mean an additional layer of protection against external events that can be predicted in advance, such as weather events, as well as more flexible decision-making in the event of unforeseen events.
3. Allocation of Materials and Resources: Even within a single manufacturing company, there can be multiple factories, each dependent on a number of core resources to ensure the continuity of operations. Machine learning-driven automation can make it easier to automatically reorder critical materials for on-time production or place orders with neighboring plants when one plant has surpluses that could keep another plant from anticipating shortages.
There are multiple points of contact at any given time in manufacturing, from placing orders to distributing products in warehouses to engaging multiple suppliers and shippers, where automation can reduce unnecessary friction and waste.
Perform preventive maintenance on critical infrastructure Remote devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence technologies are gradually changing the way that all kinds of structures and equipment are preventively and continuously maintained. The IoT, when combined with artificial intelligence, can provide effective predictive and proactive maintenance strategies that will save companies millions of rubles.
A single delivery truck downtime can be disastrous for profits that day (or even this quarter). And if a conveyor, air compressor, or mechanical equipment fails during a busy season and there is no Plan B, it could be a disaster for the company. Proactive maintenance is another gift from automation. In delivery trucks and similar equipment, automation can wirelessly warn in advance when wearing parts require attention, inspections are scheduled or a vehicle requires intervention for other reasons - long before