By Rama Krishna Sreepada, Co-founder and Chief Architect, [x]cube LABS
We live in the age of automation, where extensive use of technology induces digital transformation across industries. Integrating modern technologies enables faster and more efficient processes, helping businesses manufacture products at a lesser cost. Tipping at a turning point, manufacturing enterprises inject significant funds and time into bringing digital transformations to the forefront of their business. Whether won or lost, most of their investments are paying off, while some implement pilot programs to uproot the returns.
Given the easy accessibility and adoption of new-age technologies, manufacturers are realizing the value of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Data Analytics to implement Industry 4.0. The digital transformation connects through new-age technologies to fuel the country’s manufacturing sector. Its emphasis is on redefining conventional product design and processes while automating the entire sector.
Understanding Industry 4.0
The revolution of Industry 4.0, also known as Manufacturing 4.0, is the maturation of digital technology embedded in the manufacturing industry. It is a holistic shift from centralized to decentralized manufacturing, which requires the integration of new-age technologies – advanced robotics, AI, IoT, Cloud computing, data analytics, etc. These all are ushering into the next industrial revolution – Industry 4.0.
Manufacturing companies outsource to low-wage regions to remain relevant in the competitive market. However, technology integration has turned the tables for manufacturing companies to operate based on technical capabilities and proximity to consumer demand rather than making decisions driven by wages. Industry 4.0 has an international impact as it eradicates the barriers to international boundaries and creates more jobs while staying in the home country.
Optimization of processes
The key purpose of undergoing the Industry 4.0 revolution is optimizing manufacturing processes. Sensors, IoT, AI, and Automation, allow manufacturers to expedite their operations. On the other hand, the integration of data analytics empowers decision-makers to make data-driven decisions and increase efficiency by predicting downtime for machines. In addition, monitoring systems provide real-time yield optimization across manufacturing operations.
With digitized operations, manufacturing companies can have the benefit of production efficiency increase. Further, it empowers them with the right production and capacity planning, which translates to an increase in both efficiency and revenue and improved customer service. Manufacturers can keep a healthy track of their products and provide faster customer service when most processes are completed via sensor-based machines.
Technology integration has always proved to drive a dramatic increase in productivity. In the Industry 4.0 revolution, sensors, machines, and other IT systems are interconnected, enabling departments to interact without wasting time and resources. This significantly increases industrial productivity – modifying the workforce profile and increasing the market’s competitiveness.
Furthermore, with digital processes, manufacturers can respond faster to the customers’ needs. This further improves the speed and productivity of the entire production process. As a result, it lays the foundation for new business models, enabling the manufacturers to invest more in technology and customize their offerings for the customers.
Supply chain optimization
Technology has undoubtedly altered the traditional ways of working. IoT-enabled sensors and data analytics provide a new approach to product distribution to manufacturers. These are built on predictive and forecasting models of internal and external variables and produced as per the consumers’ demand.
Another use case suggests – thousands of suppliers dominate the global supply chain. Ensuring end-to-end visibility and real-time asset tracking can close the gaps in the supply chain and reduce the number of lost sales. This improves the accuracy of the order while enhancing batch control and optimizing inventory. Simply put, a fully integrated system enables a seamless flow of information between departments that optimizes the supply chain network and the entire manufacturing process.
Industry 4.0 lies in the interconnection of technologies and digital processes. Its concept can be applied across all industrial segments. Those industrial manufacturing companies which adopt integrated advanced technology solutions earlier will have a better chance to position themselves in the market.