Manufacturing is not an area one usually envisions on hearing about digitization. There is something that puts these two concepts at the opposite ends of the spectrum (after all, the very word “manufacturing” originates from the Latin expression meaning “made by hand”). Also, the digital transformation of a factory is much more complicated than that of, let’s say, a hotel business. You cannot just introduce new software – you have to reorganize your entire production process and re-equip your factories. It is no wonder that many manufacturers are still wary of such an expensive investment – however, in recent years, the consensus moved in favor of digitization – currently, almost 90 percent of manufacturers believe that digital transformation offers more opportunities than risks. But how exactly does digitization? Let’s take a closer look.
1. More Automation across the Board
In the past, automation was mostly concerned with routing tasks. A robot can replace a human worker performing a simple and repetitive yet labor-consuming task. If a robot is cheap enough, it is a viable option. However, recent advances in AI and machine learning mean that automation can touch upon decision-making, something previously believed to be the prerogative of humans. Today automated algorithms can plan production schedules, complete established manufacturing processes, and even solve relatively open-ended problems.
2. Improved Auditing Systems
American and European companies often outsource production to industrial hubs in countries like India, China, or Indonesia to lower their costs. These advantages come with serious risks, as they cannot control how their suppliers adhere to environmental and labor regulations. Wide-scale digitization allows for fast, precise, and relatively inexpensive supplier audits, like AQI Service, that can be carried out in any part of the world without the direct participation of the business ordering it.
3. Total Connectivity
Digitization is concerned not just with automating isolated processes – a seamless connection of data from different sources is arguably only as an essential part of it. Modern factories already produce terabytes of useful data that can be used for actionable insights – but it is usually yet to be truly connected. A manufacturing company that achieves true connectivity is capable of perceiving not just its production process but the entire supply chain, all the way from suppliers of raw materials to customers.
4. Smart Analytics
For the longest time, the majority of improvements in work processes were either chance discoveries or the results of insights resulting from many years of experience. Connectivity, AI and machine learning can finally make these changes habitual and regular. A smart AI can single out the elements of the system that cause problems or are open for improvement and make suggestions for viable alterations without having to spend a decade analyzing them.
Since its inception, mass production was incompatible with customization. When factories forced artisans from the market, they provided universal access to cheap goods at the cost of their individuality. Digital factories can finally reverse this change, combining the best of both possible worlds: the low price of mass-produced goods and customization of artisanship. Process automation allows for the creation of numerous different variants of the same product without the need to establish separate production lines for each of them, dramatically decreasing the costs of introducing such variability and allowing clients to choose the details of the product they want for themselves.
Although analytics believe that about 60 percent of technologies necessary for full-scale digitization of manufacturing already exist, we should realize that we are still at the beginning of this path. Full digital transformation can take a long time and is likely to make forms that we cannot even imagine yet.
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AQI Service as a Third-Party Quality Inspection Company in China specialized in providing a complete range of inspection service for soft line, hardline, Furniture, bag, Toys, electronic, electrical and home textile as:
- DPI (During production inspection)
- PSI (Pre-shipment inspection)
- Container Loading Supervision
- Factory Audit & Supplier Investigation
- Barcode and packaging inspection
- Product Testing and Compliance Certification