What’s in the Factory of the Future

Manufacturers today are under a lot of pressure.  They need to fill orders quickly but maintain high quality.  They need to optimize efficiency but increase flexibility and sustainability.  All while improving worker safety.  Today, black swan events have wrought havoc on global supply chains.  The COVID-19 pandemic and responses thereto have disrupted supply chains, increased production costs, and generated major uncertainty in several industries. 

How are factories changing to fit the future?  For one, they’re ditching supply chains.  Value networks allow producers to source their needs from several companies, allowing for higher resilience and greater flexibility.  The factory of the future will need to leverage advanced planning and scheduling (APS) to keep up with a rapidly changing world.  AI can influence decision-making by modeling potential disruption and encouraging backup plans to be made.

Other technological innovations in the factory are designed to increase sustainability in manufacturing.  Industrial IoT can offer intimate knowledge about factory machines and processes, tracking everything from maintenance to waste.  These changes are needed; manufacturing represents 20% of global emissions.  Were just 5 areas of manufacturing to reform, emissions could drop by an amount equal to the elimination of all transportation.  The factory’s future is coming.

Factory of the Future