Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing – Forbes
Like the Industrial Revolution impacted manufacturing, digital transformation is now responsible for changing the industry. Finally, industrial manufacturers are joining their counterparts–as Iâve previously discussed–and are moving to a digital world. Not since Henry Ford introduced mass production has there been a revolution to this scale. Now, manufacturing companies are using technology to move from mass production to customized production, and itâs happening at a rapid pace.
Consumer expectations and the advent of connected devices and platforms are driving the persistent digitization of the manufacturing. While the majority of manufacturing executives acknowledge the importance of this transformation, only five percent of them are satisfied with their current digital strategies. The industry continues to evolve in response to the challenge of ensuring the right products are delivered at the right price to the right person through a process of improved sophistication.
IoT and Industry 4.0
At the center of industrial transformation is IoT, accounting for more than $178 billion in 2016 and proving critical to providing companies with a competitive edge. The manufacturing industry is leading in the IoT because of the revolutionary ways this connected technology has streamlined and simplified various manufacturing processes. For instance, IoT can provide real-time feedback and alerts companies of defects or damaged goods. These simple yet critical implementations of IoT reduce cost and waste. Further incorporation of IoT, Industry 4.0 ârepresents the vision of the interconnected factory where equipment is online, and in some way is also intelligent and capable of making its own decisions.â Responsible for the rise of smart machinery, Industry 4.0 also introduced a hybrid approach of virtual and actual content warehouses that has freed up manpower on the production and collaboration side of the industry. The trend of mass customization has allowed manufacturers to more efficiently react to consumer demand. Because customers expect the products they use to be intuitive and easy to interact with, mobilization and connectedness continues to drive manufacturers to innovate faster and create software-enabled products. IoT and Industry 4.0 capabilities are also changing how post-sale service is provided, offering immediate and consistent online support.
AI and machine learning
A machineâs ability to learn and adopt intelligent human behavior is not a new advancement. It has been a decade since IBMâs supercomputer beat the greatest chess player in the world, forever changing the relationship between man and machine. Today, these advanced algorithms are transforming the way the manufacturing industry collects information, performs skilled labor, and predicts consumer behavior. Smart factories with integrated IT systems provide relevant data to both sides of the supply chain more easily, increasing production capacity by 20 percent. Quality is no longer sacrificed for efficiency, as machine learning algorithms determine which factors impact service and production quality. Sensors have replaced human hands, resulting in less wasted time and materials, as well as optimal accuracy and workflow. Digitizing the industry means lower cost of production, quicker turnarounds, and more efficiently meeting customer demand.