The era is filled with an increase in improved technologies. Cloud and quantum computing, Internet of Things, AI, 3D printing, and a surfeit of other technologies introduced the Fourth Industrial Revolution rapidly transformed the normal way we see high technology and promise incomprehensible horizons of opportunities.
The manufacturing sector is the sector influenced by innovation, probably to the greatest extent. Its modern stage, referred to as Industry 4.0, is also experiencing an explosion with the total market expected to attain about $4 trillion this year.
Automation is not a doubt a widely known manufacturing process, but with improvement in AI and remote communication, this practice is liable to explode years to come. Automation in terms of manufacturing means taking rote tasks and building a system that performs them in a completely automatic way.
For instance, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant may have an automated system for dispensing a specific amount of a powdered chemical. Automation can provide many benefits like mechanical precision and consistency, significant safety, and reduced operating expenses.
Age of Manufacturing Automation
It isn’t an overstatement to state that 90% of every labor activity and two-thirds of industry-related tasks can be automated. Improving obsolete systems and introducing manufacturing automation companies will result in important benefits.
Labor productivity enhancement: Undoubtedly, robots are more effective than humans, so the decrease in manual work signifies greater productivity.
Cost curtailment: Since not many humans are involved, the salary expenditures reduces significantly.
Product quality improvement: Automation extremely decreases the number of errors and malfunctions. Process optimization in manufacturing presupposes intensified consistency and uniformity, hence adding to the quality of the final products.
Safety considerations: Machines can be implemented in environments that are risky for humans and give virtually inaccessible areas (for example, underwater, in space, etc.).
Lead time minimization: Implementing software for material requirements planning (MRP) as well as for supply chain automation enables decreasing the time between a customer’s order and the final product delivery.
Monotonous operation elimination: When repetitive, tedious tasks are assigned to robots, employees are eased to pursue creative activities or trained to get high-profile jobs that exceed the machines’ qualifications to perform.
8 Manufacturing Processes that can be Automated
Supplier and materials management usually consists of manual, ad hoc processes throughout numerous supplier portals, internal systems of record, Vendor Management Systems (VMS), documents, and email communications.
Procurement automation tools can simplify these processes involving supplier requirements, supplier relationships, and the ordering of goods and services.
- Automatic emails can make supplier communication more comfortable.
- Document generation can design automatic RFPs.
- Automated web forms can assist in supplier data management and compliance review.
- Predictive modeling can assist in predicting forecasting or make approvals in minutes.
- Optical Character Recognition can easily read and process information in invoices.
Achieving these repetitive, high-volume processes can result in quicker fulfillment and enhanced revenue by increasing output.
2. Research and Development
The innovation, introduction, and enhancement of products need much heavy document work and communication between departments such as engineering and production.
Design sheets, research compilation, CAD/CAE drawings, standards and specifications, manuals, regulatory applications, inspection checks, and lots of other documents and spreadsheets for tracking are required to get from concept to product.
The number of internal handoffs and supplier communications through different documents and platforms develop bottlenecks when not properly arranged.
Automation tools can standardize and simplify the various moving parts of this process. From project management and data tracking to document processing, conversion, and template-filling, connecting it all results into rapid engineering change orders, faster time to market, little errors, and more efficient entirely.
3. Distribution and Logistics
Order instructions, product information, carrier bidding, inspection sheets, proof of delivery, invoices, shipment tracking, and packing slips are some types of document workflows that hold and extend the distribution and logistics process.
Companies that keep goods also have an additional set of difficulties and processes around warehousing. Possessing total visibility into the quality and quantity of inventory and optimizing what’s in stock is important for enhancing cash flow and keeping expenses low.
Automation can reduce the time it has taken to execute these tasks done by processing a high volume of product information for quicker time to revenue, analyzing it for optimization, or looking up the status of any given piece for real-time tracking to improve customer service.
4. Sales and Order Processing
Having accurate products delivered to an accurate person at an accurate price has always been a complex process in manufacturing. Well, with the increase of consumers desiring more customized products, these demands are higher and involve even more unusual data, documents, and digital systems than ever.
Manually combining information about order placement, fulfillment, tracking, and delivery from different sources is an administrative drain on your organization and causes errors.
Automation tools can merge several integrated systems and don’t only offer total documentation and real-time visibility into sales and order status. They can still manage pricing calculations, payment processing, address parsing, task assignments, tracking, and fit to any order modification along the way.
Automating this process enhances sales efficiency, sales yield, and turnaround time.
5. Customer Service
There are lots of people, departments, suppliers, and vendors involved in producing and delivering a product to a customer. Your workforce deal with various channels, but your customer hopes to be informed during all the process, through a single channel. And currently, they expect answers and deliveries quicker than before.
Automation can collect numerous account histories and combine them into one system. This data can be used to offer automatic responses with accurate information, or route accurate information to the correct representatives who can reconcile inbound communications and speedily respond to decrease cycle time and enhance customer satisfaction.
The U.S. manufacturers are subjected to thousands of certain regulations. And the number of regulations increases greatly when doing business internationally.
Automating and standardizing the unstructured components of compliance processes ensures operations use accurate versions of information. Access to safe standard operating procedures and inspection reports can result in increased productivity and correctness, enhanced adherence to corporate quality and compliance initiatives, and audits while assisting you in avoiding danger or fines.
Handling compliance information and data in the same structure as you handle quality initiatives can also imply influencing regulatory data beyond compliance, utilizing this intelligence for the competitive benefit, quality enhancement, or even machine learning opportunities.
Usually, the documentation that comes with manufacturing a product on the factory floor is full of process automation opportunities. From quality testing and final fulfillment to inspection documents, manuals, and approval documents, this flow of information flow must be simplified to avoid process delays between employees or even physical stalls in production.
Manufacturing comes with numerous sensors and IoT devices that require s adequate monitoring and data collection and analysis to accomplish efficiency and high-quality.
Process automation is a method to arrange and connect every data into a single digital thread, then utilize that information for real-time visibility, analytics, AI-assisted decision making, reporting, and communications.
The human resources, finance, and operations departments in the manufacturing industry benefit from process automation.
Possessing a well-oiled operation, human resources, and finance departments are significant to maintaining a well-trained workforce, improving the bottom line, and assuring a secure work environment.
Process automation can manage the documentation and workflow routing that comes with quality recruitment, performance appraisal, labor relations, Human Capital Management (HCM) tool integration, compensation management, benefits administration, and compliance management.
The speed of automating these processes can give an important competitive advantage when it comes to the rules-driven, rapid operations that manufacturers require.
Introducing manufacturing automation is an important requirement for Industry 4.0 businesses. Removing complicated or repetitive tasks to computers will enable you to enhance your personnel’s motivation and limit your company’s expenses.
The fact of manufacturing is that numerous calculations that human minds find complex can happen immediately for an automation machine. While many people believe this is going to imply that people will be replaced, we can expect that it simply means they will move into greater new roles.
This has occurred throughout the history of the industry, and it generally leads to a higher average standard of living later on, which gives us reason to be happy and hopeful about the future.