The fourth industrial revolution is here. Rapid acceleration of technology and adoption of digital transformation is impacting businesses across industries. Even in the manufacturing sector, where we’ve seen less change than many other industries, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning are transforming entire supply chains and processes to improve efficiencies, cut costs, and increase production quality. In this blog post, we explore what the fourth industrial revolution means for your business as a manufacturer today and in the future.
The manufacturing landscape is changing
The pace and impact of technology are accelerating, and it’s happening across every industry. We’re seeing this not as an isolated trend, but as the start of a new industrial revolution. What are the factors that are contributing to this change? Several factors have come together to drive the shift to a fourth industrial revolution. Here are some key factors. – Globalization. The world has become more interconnected and more globally dependent than ever before. We now have an on-demand economy, which means that manufacturing is no longer tied to a single location. – Internet. The internet has fundamentally changed the way that companies operate, and has allowed them to become increasingly agile. In addition, the internet of things is set to fundamentally alter the way that manufacturers operate by allowing them to become more connected to their suppliers and customers, which will lead to greater innovation. – Shift to service economy. The service economy has become increasingly important as a source of growth, and the two sectors have now begun to merge. The manufacturing industry has been impacted by this shift, allowing manufacturers to tailor their products to the needs of clients through a variety of services. – Robotics. Advances in robotics have been driven by the need for increased productivity, as well as safety concerns in manufacturing industries. – Data. Data is increasingly important, as companies are collecting data during every stage of the production process, as well as through sales, marketing, and after-sales services. Data has become critical to the way that manufacturers operate, and the successful companies of the future will be those that can collect, analyze, and act on data effectively.
What exactly is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The term “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, coined by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, refers to the current digital transformation occurring in every industry. Digital transformation, driven by the exponential adoption of AI, IoT, and blockchain technologies, will impact every business, including manufacturing, as a result of the following: New infrastructure. New technologies, such as 5G, will create a vastly different infrastructure from what we know today, allowing companies to communicate and exchange data in real-time. Advances in infrastructure will allow manufacturers to operate at a far higher level of collaboration than ever before, which means that they will be better positioned to compete for contracts. New business models. The adoption of digital technologies will lead to the creation of new business models. This has already begun in the manufacturing sector, where model-based operations are transforming the entire supply chain and production process.
AI and robotics will transform manufacturing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics have become synonymous with the fourth industrial revolution, and for good reason. The benefits AI and robotics bring to manufacturing are numerous, including high-quality production, increased operational efficiency, and more consistent production. In addition, AI and robotics are relatively affordable in comparison to other automated production technologies. Here are some examples of how AI and robotics are transforming manufacturing: – Use of sensors. Sensors are playing a significant role in the evolution of the manufacturing sector, with industries using them to collect data, monitor equipment, and trigger actions. The manufacturing sector is also increasingly utilizing sensor networks to create smart environments, allowing them to collect data from a large number of sensors. – More precise production. The use of AI and machine learning in manufacturing is helping to improve product quality and consistency. AI is also being used in production planning and scheduling to create more precise plans. As a result, manufacturers are becoming better able to forecast and plan for production, which will enable them to better meet customer demands. – More automation. Automating more production processes and using robotics in production has become much more common in the manufacturing sector. AI and robotics can be used to automate planning and scheduling, as well as monitoring production progress to make sure it is completed as expected. – Greater use of cobots. Collaborative robots are being used more frequently in the manufacturing sector. They are typically used in areas where human workers are working alongside the robots, such as assembly, packing, and logistics. Collaborative robots are being used in a wider range of applications and industries, which is expected to increase as demand for them rises.
Supply chain transparency will be key
The ability to track products from source to destination has been essential to manufacturing since its inception. During the third industrial revolution, when the global supply chain emerged, supply chain visibility was key. At the time, barcode scanning and routing systems were the innovation that made the sector transparent and integrated. Now, during the fourth industrial revolution, blockchain technology is expected to bring levels of transparency never seen before in the manufacturing sector. Blockchain technology provides companies with a secure and decentralized way to track products from source to destination, which means that manufacturers will have clear visibility into their entire supply chain, including all suppliers, production locations, and customers. This level of transparency will allow manufacturers to more effectively engage in cross-border trade without significantly impacting costs.
The fourth industrial revolution is bringing fundamental changes to the manufacturing sector. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and machine learning are creating a vastly different landscape from what we know today. Companies will operate at a higher level of collaboration than ever before, and manufacturers will be better able to compete for contracts. Additionally, blockchain technology is expected to provide a level of transparency never seen before in the manufacturing sector.