Digitalization has taken the manufacturing industry by storm. There is no living in denial now that AI is a transformational technology. AI has not only prevailed in the Gartner Hype Cycle, but it is also dominating this year’s technology landscape. Organizations are increasingly adopting AI application solutions to create new products, improve existing products and grow their customer base. Integrating AI solutions for organization-wide applications and business workflows might seem complex, but there is no better time to get SMART than now!
Senior Principal Analyst at Gartner, Shubhangi Vashisth has rightly pointed out, on average, it takes about eight months to get an AI-based model integrated within a business workflow and for it to deliver tangible value. Yet, Gartner predicts by 2025, 70% of organizations will have operationalized AI due to the rapid maturity of AI adoption initiatives (Goasduff, 2021).
So, if you are wondering where and how to get started, here are our Pro Tips for turning your factory toward Smart Manufacturing:
- Do not look at AI adoption as an experiment. It is a legit strategy that has proven its efficacy at reducing your business risks and improving productivity.
- You need to focus on the quality of only two enablers of digital transformation—Data and AI application solutions.
- Identify your business challenges first and make informed decisions about AI applications offering customized solutions for your pain points.
The early adopters of AI, who embraced the IR 4.0 principles of making business processes more intelligent, have seen the technology deliver on its commercial promises.
Research suggests that the BOE model provides a fitting AI adoption framework (Dasgupta & Wendler, 2019). Originally the BOE model got developed to understand the adoption of electronic data interchange (EDI) technology. It is now utilized as a general technology adoption model, too.
The BOE model considers three factors:
The perceived benefits of adopting AI applications in manufacturing organizations are
- Improvement of process yield by 8-10%
- Enhanced Product Quality by 10-12 %
- Reduction of working capital by 8-10%
- Cutting down of maintenance costs by 15- 20%
The industry can get quicker ROI and start realizing benefits in 6 to 8 weeks of AI integration. The additional benefits of delivering such throughput with faster turnarounds and improved quality of service are improved customer satisfaction and long-term business relationships.
- Organizational Readiness –
Organizational constraints such as company culture, apprehension regarding AI adoption misconstrued as a disruptive technology, and legacy machines can pose challenges in deploying AI. However, under the skilled guidance of technology consultants and with the help of cutting-edge technology enablers, organizations can navigate the pitfalls to achieve relevant AI readiness. Systematic AI adoption increases the probability of successful transformation.
- External Pressure (Competition) –
Leveraging AI to secure significant business value can provide a competitive advantage to organizations. Industry-specific AI applications can lead to incredible improvement in manufacturing volume and process efficiency.
And then again, there are three approaches to AI adoption:
- Top-down approach for holistic organization-wide technology adoption
- The Bottom-up approach, the opposite alternative, applies technology to various components and processes in a piecemeal manner.
- The Agile approach involves continuous improvement at every stage in constant collaboration with technology service providers. The crossover into AI is a smooth process of evaluation, customized micro-planning, and execution.
The alignment of AI adoption with your business strategy will elevate your manufacturing to the Plateau of Productivity. Machine Learning (ML), one of the technologies under the umbrella of AI, is also a commendable value-addition. ML fortifies AI with its capability of continual learning through experience, which plays a vital role in the fine-tuning processes. Start with a pilot project and scale it up for heightened profitability.
Wisdom is key to human evolution, but Artificial Intelligence is key to manufacturing evolution in this Smart Machine Age!