By Mithun Sundar, Executive Director – Manufacturing, Conglomerates, Strategic Growth Partnerships, Microsoft India.
Innovations to the manufacturing industry couldn’t have come at a more exciting time for India. As ‘Make in India’ completes a decade next year, the country is uniquely poised to take advantage of the computing trends that are transforming manufacturing. Here are four trends that are defining the once-in-a-century transformation of the manufacturing industry, with the potential to unlock huge productivity gains, eliminate waste, conserve energy and build more sustainable futures.
Connected workforce to power the factories of the future
The key to unlocking the full potential of the “Intelligent factory” lies in having a connected workforce. As manufacturing rapidly adopts cloud based technologies like Digital Twins, Mixed Reality and the Industrial Metaverse it’s crucial that the workforce to also collaborate seamlessly and securely, stays engaged and is empowered to work in a hybrid environment.
According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 63% of frontline manufacturing workers are excited about the job opportunities that technology creates. And with technology set to transform every aspect of manufacturing – from the factory floor to the frontline- AI-enabled virtual agents can empower frontline workers to find intelligent answers within the context of their manufacturing applications. It’s time to embrace the power of the connected workforce and lead the way to a brighter manufacturing future.
Avoid supply chain disruptions with AI
In today’s fast-paced business environment, supply chain disruptions can spell disaster for companies. That’s where generative AI comes in, it can provide predictive insights across materials, inventory, distribution network and more to prevent and minimize disruptions, making supply chains more resilient. And with a stronger supply chain, companies can prevent losses, scale up production and boost output.
Leading companies have already embraced this technology with great success. Kraft Heinz implemented a ready-made command centre to reduce risk across its supply chains. Likewise, high-performance computing solutions allowed semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics to transform to supply chain to bring its products faster to market and scale up capacity.
But it’s not just about technology- automation and robotics can help in performing repetitive tasks faster and more accurately, improving efficiency and productivity. This, in turn, leads to better inventory management and reducing carrying costs. By embracing these solutions, companies can gain a competitive advantage and thrive in an ever- changing market.
Building for sustainability
Leading manufacturers like STMicroelectronics, are using technology to double their capacity by 2025 and become carbon neutral in the same year. Sustainability is now a key focus area for manufacturing firms, which are adopting renewable energy sources, circular economy principles to reduce waste and optimizing production processes to minimize environmental impact.
Thanks to the cloud, it’s now easier than ever to track, monitor and improve on sustainability goals as processes move to the cloud. But despite this progress, the hardest sustainability challenges still lie in chemistry and material science. To tackle these challenges, scaled quantum machines that leverage state-of-the-art cloud services are required. That’s where supercomputing capabilities along with AI, come into play, promising to accelerate chemical simulations with predictive modeling tools and workflows. By embracing cutting-edge technology, manufacturers can achieve their sustainability goals and lead the way to a more sustainable future.
Factories of the Future
The future of the industrial ecosystem relies on a common virtual space where everyone can visualize and interact with complex processes using real-world data, in real time. The industrial metaverse, which encompasses AI, Digital Twins, Mixed Reality, Machine Learning and Cloud-to-Edge technologies, is revolutionizing manufacturing with remote operations, robotics, automation and autonomous operations.
It is making product engineering more collaborative and closer to the final product, significantly squeezing time-to-launch. Coupled with enterprise-level security, industrial metaverse technologies like HoloLens, offering immersive experiences, are changing the face of manufacturing.
Leading manufacturers such as Siemens are already using generative AI to help industrial companies drive innovation and efficiency across the design, engineering, manufacturing and operational lifecycle of products. Others such as Rockwell are integrating robotics and AI technologies to empower companies to optimize their field service workers and asset management in factories.
With advanced cloud and AI capabilities, the future of manufacturing is quickly approaching, and it promises to be the most transformative chapter since the industrial revolution. As manufacturers embrace cutting-edge technologies like the industrial metaverse, generative AI and robotics, they’ll unlock new levels of productivity, efficiency and sustainability. The future of manufacturing is full of promise, and we’re just getting started. With the right tools, technologies, and mindset, we can revolutionize the industry and unlock its full potential for the benefit of all.