From buzzword to reality: more and more companies are facing the change towards Smart Manufacturing. But what exactly is it? What are the benefits and challenges? How to successfully deal with this change? We tell you about it in our latest TechStory
Smart Manufacturing or Intelligent Factory means the ability of a manufacturing company to have integrated and automated production thanks to the implementation of technologies such as the IoT, artificial intelligence and tools for real-time data analysis. The goal is to have a production process that is proactive to the needs of the market and to the problems of the entire production process, which is also able to reduce costs and production times.
The benefits are different:
– increase in production efficiency, thanks to data analysis that allows you to intervene on waste and on the elimination of losses;
– cost reduction, deriving primarily from an optimization of the entire process;
– greater resilience in complex contexts and in the face of critical changes, essential in a constantly changing context;
– possibility of taking proactive actions, for example through predictive maintenance interventions;
– connection of all systems for 360° monitoring of the plant, in the case of multi-plant companies, comparison of KPIs in the various production sites;
– remote monitoring and control of production.
In addition to the advantages just seen, there are still challenges that companies face when it comes to smart manufacturing:
– a cultural transformation so that all people in the company can be involved in this change that focuses on data as a source of value for making decisions;
– a transformation of skills by accompanying one’s own internal resources towards the knowledge of these new tools, explaining their potential and benefits for everyone;
– cost management: it is not always easy for companies to understand when is the right time to undertake this process and there may be the risk of facing change too quickly, investing in resources that are still premature for the current business context;
– security of the data that is collected and analyzed and which entails for the company the choice of whether to keep it locally or to reduce the risk by relying on Cloud services;
– integration between the various systems and with older machinery, a particularly critical point especially for solutions that are not Plug&Play.
Once the benefits and challenges to be faced have been analyzed, a company wishing to undertake a Smart Manufacturing project should face the process step by step:
Finally, a point in its own right that must be transversal to the whole process is certainly the involvement of all people: both those who have to decide the design part and those who, even minimally, will be impacted by this change. Listening, collaborating and creating a dialogue between departments is essential to ensure that new tools and processes are accepted and there is not a level of resistance to change, often caused by fear and misunderstanding.
Do you want to know how to successfully face this journey towards the smart factory and digitization? Contact us!