A new industrial revolution is upon us. Smart factories are set to add upwards of £1 trillion in value to the global economy over the next five years. So, is this a movement you can afford to ignore?
While direct improvements will boost production output and manufacturing line efficiencies, indirect benefits such as reduced labour costs will result in a wave of change never before seen.
Read on for five critical factors to consider in the smart factory revolution.
The bane of any large-scale manufacturer is a delay on the production line. Not only does this disrupt daily output, but the knock-on effects can also have a considerable cost-impact down the length of the supply chain. Fortunately, Capgemini anticipates that the advent of the smart factory will enhance production optimising the timely delivery of end-product by up to thirteen times.
No more late-night runs; just expedited deliveries to deal with efficiencies.
A fundamental element of the smart factory lies in the digitisation of manual processes – that is, computer-managed workflows that leverage the power of big data that is continually generated throughout the factory. Or, utilising a robotic workforce to process repeatable tasks currently performed by a worker.
By automating such processes, the factory is not only able to continuously optimise thanks to an ever-increasing pool of ‘knowledge’; it can also run on a 24-7 schedule. Or, on a timetable that suits changing requirements.
Capex & Inventory Cost Rationalisation
While the upfront investment in smart factory technology is a perceived barrier, the reality is that both capital investment and inventory management become infinitely simpler in an automated warehouse.
As such, the associated savings present a more than compelling investment case when measured against the initial outlay. Experts predict improvements as much as twelve times those witnessed in 1990, which will be revolutionary for all involved.
It Pays to Start Now
Despite the projected growth within the industry and the fact that three-quarters of manufacturers have some form of digital initiative already in place, only a handful are seen as experts within the field. This is fantastic news for anyone with ambitions to get involved. You can still get ahead of the curve regarding operational excellence, provided you start soon.
The industries which are seeing massive operational gains include industrial manufacturing, automotive, consumer goods, energy and utilities, as well as a selection of others. Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Man vs. Machine
The sooner you start, the quicker you will get up to speed with current standards and the more you will benefit from early-mover advantage. Investment in the right technology is as significant as managing the transformation, so be sure to establish a change-management strategy that upskills employees alongside introducing the smart tech to your factory floor.
You will only reap the full benefits – and progress at the anticipated rate – if you take a holistic approach to digitisation. That is, leverage the workforce to complement the surrounding automation. This must be an inclusive approach to smartening up.