Smart Manufacturing is changing the way that many businesses operate. For many manufacturers that implement this technology, they are able to increase output while maintaining or even minimizing the need for onsite staff.
Many people refer to Smart Manufacturing as being the 4th industrial revolution. With advancements in technology, harnessing big data is possible for businesses working within industry 4.0 constraints to grow. And creating a more efficient workplace means that productivity will improve, as will profits.
But what is Smart Manufacturing? And how can it help your business? In this article, we’ll discuss which industries most benefit from smart manufacturing and why.
What Is Smart Manufacturing?
Smart Manufacturing is a collection of technologies that help to optimize the entire manufacturing process. Because this technology is designed specifically to increase productivity in the most efficient and streamlined manner, it opens up the potential for increased profits and improvements in the quality of the items produced.
Smart Manufacturing is all about taking data and making use of it in an efficient manner. Smart Manufacturing technology such as Andon systems can give you real-time reports on any equipment malfunctions, product damages, or downtime, allowing you to react quicker and communicate across departments to handle disruptions efficiently. These reports then allow project managers to add and achieve more realistic benchmarks for continuous improvement.
The technologies that act as enablers in Smart Manufacturing include the following and more:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Condition monitoring
- Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)
By looking at all of these enablers and how they produce data, it is possible to create flexible and efficient ways of working. Smart Manufacturing is becoming an essential element in fulfilling the needs of the supply chain as factories work to optimize their technology and harness its full potential for production.
Which Industries Are Most in Need of Smart Manufacturing?
Given the current situation surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, there are many essential manufacturing businesses who would greatly benefit from Smart Manufacturing technology. For example, medical equipment manufacturing plants can benefit from advancements made in medical technology encapsulated within the Internet of Things, and with 3D printing already making major leaps, the advancement in design and production that smart manufacturing can bring will rapidly accelerate the standard of medical equipment production.
One of the major advantages of Smart Manufacturing is the ability of a business to increase or decrease its production immediately as a result of demand. While all manufacturing businesses can benefit from the flexibility that smart manufacturing technology offers, companies that see constant fluctuations in demand will be the ideal industries to take advantage of this smart manufacturing technology. This may include good producers that have had to react to panic buying, such as manufacturers of household cleaning products, toilet paper, and certain food items.
In some case where demand does fluctuate, a company won’t be able to sit on a large amount of inventory in the case of overproduction. This may be because costs and space associated with storage are limited, or it could be due to the products only having a very short shelf life.
Overproduction can be wasteful, particularly in sectors like the food industry, so in order for these manufacturers to maintain continuous improvement and Lean Manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing methods and technology are critical.
Smart Manufacturing tools allow companies producing food, for example, greater control over the amount that they are producing. Real-time data reported across all departments allows for more accurate inventory control, and can therefore be beneficial when ordering materials and ingredients, arranging staffing budgets, and creating employee schedules.
Why Is Smart Manufacturing Technology So Useful to Businesses?
Manufacturing is a competitive industry, especially as demands and production outputs fluctuate during this global crisis. With so much competition attempting to harness the value of manufacturing tools, it can be a challenge for businesses who don’t take advantage of Smart Manufacturing tools to get ahead.
Smart Manufacturing technology puts your business in a position where it is able to compete. The implications of the data analysis used in Smart Manufacturing will allow your business to enjoy greater efficiency in areas such as staff spending, production output, and equipment upgrades.
It can also benefit you by helping you reduce waste. By optimizing the technology used on production lines, you can learn trends that allow you to make decisions to reduce the amount of by-product or shrinkage you face.
How Can Businesses Adapt to Smart Manufacturing?
In order to increase productivity, it will be essential for all manufacturers to adopt some form of Smart technology in the near future, if they haven’t already. This will require investment in technology, and most importantly, an investment in the software that will connect all of your factory systems.
Training will be an essential element in adapting to industry 4.0. With this technology representing the future of all industries as we know it, companies need to invest in employee training so that this can be quickly and confidently adopted in the workplace.
As manufacturers focus on optimizing their production floors through the use of Smart Technology such as Andon systems, Artificial Intelligence, and 3D printing, responses to disruptions in the supply chain caused by events such as the pandemic can be improved. Production can become more reliable and controlled as real-time data allows project managers to better tailor continuous improvement goals towards less waste and quicker output to meet demands.