Don’t Wait for Standards Before Moving Closer to Smart Manufacturing
Smart Manufacturing has been making a lot of noise in the manufacturing industry, mostly due to how automation can greatly improve manufacturing operations through enhanced productivity. Also known as the “New Industrial Revolution”, this may indeed drastically shift the entire world of manufacturing.
By BMW Werk Leipzig (http://bmw-werk-leipzig.de) [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
So, what is it?
According to Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, Smart Manufacturing is defined as “integrating network-based data and information that comprises the real-time understanding, reasoning, planning, and management of all aspects of a manufacturing and supply chain enterprise.” Some refer to smart manufacturing as the digitization of various processes in a manufacturing company.
A company that has moved forward to smart manufacturing utilizes intelligent machines, networks, and systems to handle and manage different processes in their operation. Smart manufacturing is basically a term highlighting the different technologies used in manufacturing to make the processes more efficient and more effective.
However, as of 2014, 87% of U.S. companies reportedly did not use Smart Manufacturing despite reports in increased efficiency, lower product defects, and customer satisfaction gains by those using Smart Manufacturing. Although initial investments and a dip in profitability during the first few years are expected when moving to smart manufacturing, these are just hurdles to profitable growth.
Aside from the cost factor, the 87% may be having reservations because the new standards are yet to be implemented. Although there are existing frameworks, and initiatives on standardization done by some countries like USA, China, and Germany, these may not be enough for some manufacturers to use Smart Manufacturing.
But if the industry, in this fast-paced tech-driven age, will inevitably move towards smart manufacturing, why wait for new standards to be imposed? Smart Manufacturing is in a continuous development phase, so why not reap the following benefits now?
Improved Productivity >>>>>>>>