The AI revolution is having a ripple effect on businesses of all industries, especially manufacturing. Straight out of high-tech labs, artificial intelligence is grabbing the attention of manufacturing leaders as it offers a smarter, more streamlined supply chain process.
Combined with automation, manufacturers are now creating products of higher quality, with greater efficiency. This makes for a winning formula for manufacturing. So just how exactly is AI and automation impacting manufacturing? To answer this question, we need to first highlight the differences between AI and automation since they are often used synonymously.
A revolutionized supply chain
A manufacturer’s level of production is quite often dependent on the efficiency of a firm’s supply chain. This is why businesses are always looking to improve sales and profit margins – and AI can do just that. The State of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprises states that supply chain operations is one of the biggest areas driving revenue for AI investment. But how exactly is this technology changing the nature of the supply chain and logistics?
AI’s capacity for processing large datasets
Through exceptional algorithmic and computer processing abilities, AI can digest colossal amounts of data, unearth trends and provide solutions at lightning speed. Before the AI boom, there was no technology advanced enough to deliver work of this value. Older technology was unable to take into account influential factors, such as consumer spending habits with regards to demographics, personal preferences and seasonal factors.
The insurgence of AI has changed the playing field. This technology is now capable of tracking and measuring all factors needed to provide accurate forecasts for supply chain managers. AI can, in fact, provide an endless cycle of forecasting, capable of continuously making adjustments based on real-time sales, stock levels and even the weather.
Within warehouses, supply chain officers may experience drastic changes such as self-driving forklifts and self-managing inventory systems powered by drones. Amazon is already leading the way in this area by investing heavily into highly autonomous distribution centers.
The number of robots replacing humans in factories is increasing incrementally putting us in an interesting position of ensuring that human-robot collaboration is efficient and safe. To achieve this requires an in-depth understanding of robotic applications, as well as being able to identify risks and access to the right portfolio of safety solutions.
The main benefits of human-robot cooperation is robots will be able to take on the challenges of greater cognitive complexity, making autonomous decisions based on real-time data. As highlighted in the Artificial Intelligence of Logistics, a report conducted by IBM and DHL, there are a number of technologies capable of doing that:
- Intelligent robot sorting – the ability to sort letters, parcels and palletized shipments at hyper-speeds.
- AI powered visual inspection – this is an effective way of identifying damage to cargos by taking photos and deciding on the most appropriate form of corrective action.
For more on how AI and automation is impacting all industries, click here.