THE FUTURE OF PRODUCTION
Manufacturing is changing in response to COVID-19 challenges and adopting new technologies, with work accelerating in many areas not only to survive the epidemic, but to continue using it after it is over.
Of course, it is the goal of every brand to ensure the continuity of the production line, speed it up and reduce critical errors. The pandemic has surprised these goals of brands. The achievement of these goals and their consistently repeatability consist of better data, better insights, and better actions. It’s easy to say, but how do we make it happen? Of course by investing in technology and trained manpower.
COVID-19 has created excessive demand for consumer product production. Much more used hygiene products and much more needed personal cleaning products caused many brands to review their production methods and many brands to change their production track. The gap between supply and demand caused it to evolve in its production. This evolution process was not just a supply and demand process, it was a period of survival. Humans and brands, accustomed to conditions, no longer see this evolution as survival, but predict it to be permanent. It is permanently evolving into digital transformation in manufacturing.
“We saw that key product manufacturers are in excessive demand for their products,” Ryan Chan, founder and CEO of Upkeep, said at the Virtual Engineering Week session. On the contrary, he said, some non-essential producers were experiencing demand difficulties, forcing them to cut their operational expenses. “So we see this dilemma in production,” said Chan. “Also what we’ve seen is that COVID-19 has slightly reduced the different options we have. What we’ve seen from many businesses is that they are now turning to technology for different answers.” “I would say that five years of digital advancement has intensified in the past eight months,” Chan continued. “And what I believe will happen is that we will continue to see this trend accelerate, and we believe that even when COVID restrictions are lifted, this momentum will continue in the future.” One of his clients said this would likely continue after the outbreak, reducing travel and other expenses. “Basically what he sees and what other people are seeing in this space is a huge driving force for the digitization of store rooms and what they see is not just a digital asset, but a collaborative one,” Chan said. “So, what it actually means is that someone can turn on their mobile device and see what’s happening in their workshop.” Chan emphasized that most of these technologies existed before COVID-19, but they have accelerated this trend to full throttle speed due to the epidemic. Chan said technology has three primary functions. The first is to provide professionals with tools to perform their work more efficiently, efficiently and effectively. Second, it will free up bandwidth by automating simple and yet very important essential tasks. Third, it will help us make data-driven insights, he said. “We have technology to help us in the manufacturing industry, but we can’t do that with a group data silo,” he explained. “So, what we start to see in the production phase are more integrated systems so one system can talk to another and enable us to have better insights with better data and ultimately make better decisions.” Chan isn’t worried that technology will replace people, but instead believes it will empower them to be more efficient. He said a smart technology would require fewer field technicians and fewer field workers. However, it will also require more experienced technicians and more experienced workers who can understand and analyze data related to these very complex equipment processes. Chan explained that companies can also use technology to make dangerous jobs safer and more rewarding, minimizing dangerous and repetitive tasks. Some work will be lost for AI, machine learning, and big data, but still there will be a need to train and build these AI and machine learning models to help users predict errors and become more efficient. “We’re going to benefit from human insight and creativity,” Chan concluded. “I think this will happen in the future of jobs and manufacturing.” he finished his words.
Instead of worrying about the future, producing for the future is perhaps the real future of manufacturing.