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smart manufacturing technology
15May

Maximize Operational Efficiency with Smart Manufacturing

Manufacturing business demands versatility, adaptability, and resourcefulness. In this tech-savvy world, every small and large-scale organization, endeavors to gain greater visibility of data and operations so that processes are streamlined and time is efficiently used.

Smart manufacturing is a broader term which works on modern technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, etc. for allocating resources, handling materials and streamlining production processes.

The question that is in keeping with our blog title is – What is operational efficiency in the manufacturing industry? And how can smart manufacturing help businesses enhance it? Let’s read.

OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

Operational efficiency is the capability of an organization to deliver the best quality products in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. For achieving operational efficiency, a company needs to work on –

  • Minimizing redundancy
  • Taking account of different manufacturing techniques, and
  • Optimizing every resource in the best possible manner

Issues like delayed production, wastage, and poor planning management hamper the growth of the business. Monitoring end-to-end processes can encourage operational efficiency and help managers work on areas for improvement.

Simply put, operational efficiency revolves around these ideas – asset utilization, employee productivity, operational cost reduction, and more. When output to input ratio increases, it improves operational efficiency. In this blog, we will throw light on the six pillars of operational efficiency in an organization.

What are these six pillars and how does smart manufacturing technology help strengthening it? How can you maximize operational efficiency with smart manufacturing? Let’s see.

1. Equipment

The secret sauce to a better manufacturing environment is the quality of equipment used. In this modern manufacturing environment, connected equipment, sensors, and intelligent machines ensure easy collaboration with critical manufacturing operations. When existing equipment is retrofitted with sensors, it lets you identify errors and predict potential machine failure. Modern machines can be linked to a larger set of the network to improve visibility and optimize resources in the best possible manner.

2. Workforce

Assigning tasks and performing them manually has almost become a thing of the past. With smart wearable gadgets like Daqri’s helmet and Apple watches, manufacturing operations have become less cumbersome. Next-generation robots can collaborate with humans and create augmented reality for the industry workforce. This may include 3D mapping, visual instructions, and real-time alerts.

When integrated with a mobile & human workforce and robots, manufacturing organizations find resource reallocation better and more efficient. Every operation can be automated and visible online via an intelligent software solution like enterprise resource planning software. This helps businesses enhance their overall operational efficiency.

3. Material supply chain

Most manufacturers tend to work on a Just in Time methodology to reduce costs and issues related to inventory backlog. Yes, it is a helpful method but with the rise of technological advancements, monitoring and keeping a watch on customer demand and stock quantities is automated. RFID tags and scanners are used to move items from logistics and supply chain management across the boundaries. Innovative tracking mechanisms allow plant operators to gain insight about processing raw materials and dispatching of finished goods.

Other features of intelligent ERPs and smart manufacturing techniques can assist you to understand weather conditions, price volatility, potential risks, and traffic conditions. Businesses can now anticipate production runs seamlessly.

4. Business process

Manufacturers are now abandoning static business processes and automating them. This allows them to maintain their competitiveness in the market by serving their customers well.

Talking about manufacturing processes, Enterprise Resource Planning software, when integrated with a Manufacturing Execution System, enables real-time visibility, traceability of resources, optimized workflow and effective use of assets.

However, today’s manufacturers are going beyond the Manufacturing Execution System to stand out from the crowd. Let’s see how –

  • New technologies like IoT, Blockchain, AI, Cloud etc. enable a bird’s eye view of the business and centralization of data across all departments. This creates a transparent work environment which reduces redundancy or errors.
  • When an organization embraces innovative technologies, they can assign tasks to employees while not being present in the factory. Managers can evaluate their performance by having a look at digitally created graphs and charts.
  • By transforming from a manually-driven company to an automated one, you can save time and effort, lessen errors, and focus more on the larger crucial areas rather than the smaller ones.
  • Predictive analysis in smart manufacturing allows you to anticipate potential customer demand or machine breakdown by offering real-time alerts. This saves you from expensive downtimes and declining customer satisfaction.

5. Platform  

Businesses use smart sensors and machines to manage operations and forecast demand-supply. Deploying a platform that facilitates IIOT and a host of modern technologies can do wonders for any business venture.  It can manage and authenticate a large number of devices working for the company. Having visibility into operational risk is crucial for organizations to minimize unfortunate incidents. IoT detection and response algorithms adhere to mission-critical constraints.

  • The business platform should be easily connected with IT/OT security
  • It facilitates real-time analytics, data ingestion and provides data insights
  • Business operations, when work on AI-based algorithms, manages a huge amount of documentation and focuses on energy efficiency and significant savings

Conclusion

The pace of progress that manufacturers are making towards smart manufacturing is dependent on an array of factors – agility in deploying industrial security solutions, speed to reskill workers, level of investment, willingness for technological change, etc.