Artificial Intelligence, AI, is set to have a huge, lasting impact on manufacturing. With the internet of things meaning that connectivity is increasingly a factor in products, there is more opportunity for measuring and sharing data, and improving processes.
“It boils down to you having the data to fulfil your customers’ needs more quickly. Any business in manufacturing should be thinking in terms of improving innovation and staying ahead of the competition using artificial intelligence.”
The Value of Data and Trust
While the internet of things is driving the creation of new products, and the servitisation of manufacturing, progress also depends on enabling smart machines to respond to data earlier in the manufacturing cycle.
“At present, AI typically carries out repetitive tasks, but it will eventually become more autonomous, and adaptable.”
“In manufacturing, AI will take on continuously changing tasks, dealing with greater areas of complexity and decision-making, then you will start to see more machines that won’t require human intervention to make recommendations based on the data they receive”
“Trust will be an important element as artificial intelligence develops and spreads,” advises Jeremy. “People must learn to trust machines to make certain choices on their behalf.”
“There will be greater integration between production, quality assurance and supply chains. And there will be much more of an immediately responsive and predictive aspect, as customer needs will feed directly into the manufacturing process.”
Supply Chains and Strategies
While artificial intelligence can gather data, it is also crucial what then happens to it.
“Advanced analytic tools will look at things like origins, locations, transit routes and destinations. They will help to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, missed deadlines.”
There is the potential to foresee customers’ needs even before they do, delivering supplies and services proactively.
“AI has the potential to transform business strategies of manufacturers, to make them far more customer-focused, with communications that directly link customers’ needs to the production line”
A Broader View
“There are bound to be fears about a loss of control when it comes to decision-making, and people’s tasks in the supply chain,” suggests Jeremy. However, AI remains a tool above everything else, and, as such, it requires human judgement as a key part of it.
Employees will always be supporting systems, and be there to monitor and govern the use of technology.
“AI is altering the focus of manufacturers from being linear to truly panoramic. Understanding how customers use products, when they want them, and what they require from them, will result in better, more innovative manufacturing solutions.”
“AI isn’t competing with us, it’s complementing what we do, and transforming how we do it,” Jeremy concludes.
Manufacturing Matters Magazine thanks Jeremy Hacking for his insight.
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