The applied artificial intelligence (AI) is capable of transforming business operations to maximize efficiency and productivity in an organization. This, in turn, facilitates better brand positioning and ensures a higher stream of revenue. According to research conducted at Accenture, labour productivity will increase up to 40 per cent if AI technologies are implemented in the organization.
But to witness these positive impacts, you must be prepared to implement AI in your factory operations. Once you implement digital technologies like AI, IoT, and others, you will convert your manufacturing facility into a smart manufacturing hub. If you aren’t sure how, to begin with, the preparations, the following suggestions will surely guide you on the right path.
Adopt a Data-Driven Approach
When we talk about AI, we cannot ignore Internet-of-Things (IoT) and machine learning (ML). These technologies work in accordance to create a smart working environment. And for the successful implementation of these technologies, you must have reliable data that will determine the functioning of machines. The data can be anything related to production workflow, design & engineering, consumer behaviour, reasoning and decision-making skills of employees, and so on.
To achieve the task of collecting data, you need to create an integrated environment comprising machines and ERP software. The data must provide an in-depth insight so that you can configure even the minutest aspect in the manufacturing process. The ultimate aim is to ensure overall customer satisfaction. This can be accomplished by adopting a product-centric approach while implementing AI in the manufacturing process.
Preparing for Intelligent Automation
According to The Manufacturer’s Annual Manufacturing Report 2018, 92% of the senior manufacturing executives believe that Smart Factory digital technologies – like AI – ensure an increase in productivity and a smarter working environment. With the introduction of these smart technologies, the manufacturing cycle will become decentralized, shorter, and efficient.
Once you have the data, you need to determine the right course of action to achieve intelligent automation. For example, you have to identify ERP software, machinery, and sensors that you should invest in. Afterwards, you have to communicate with the industry experts, schedule meetings with vendors, deploy a team of professionals, and so on.
Before you implement applied AI in a full-fledged mode, you should plan to undertake a demonstration. This will act as a testing phase, and you will be aware of all the advantages and shortcomings of implementing smart technologies.
Human Resource Management
When smart manufacturing will begin, the roles and responsibilities of the employees will undergo a change. You must be prepared for this change because you just cannot render an employee jobless. You have to analyze the shift in operations, and accordingly, take a suitable course of action. One of the ways is to impart training to employees and make them ready to handle smart manufacturing operations. You can equip them with knowledge related to data analytics, inventory management software, big data, logistics, and so on.
Work on Financial Assessment
By investing $200 million in its first “Brilliant Factory” in Pune, General Electric witnessed an increase of 18 per cent in equipment effectiveness. As you can see, investment in smart manufacturing is a feasible idea but you need to work on the financial aspects before implementing AI and other digital technologies. When you have the cost estimation ready, you will not lose money in unorganized expenditure.
For example, if you plan to integrate ERP software in the supply chain management process, you must define your requirements and ask for the cost estimate from the vendor. This way you will be aware of the expected expenditure to be incurred on the software implementation.
Implementing applied AI in your factory should be an obligation and not a question. But are you prepared for this major shift? Ask this question to yourself and if you are not prepared, consider the aforementioned factors and begin with the preparations.