The COVID-19 pandemic and response have significantly impacted the manufacturing sector by causing supply chain disruptions, delivery delays, and increasing costs, among other issues, while black swan events such as shipping delays and natural disasters have impacted global supply chains. However, efficiently connecting today’s virtual technology with the real world can provide the manufacturing sector with the digital tools needed to create the factory of the future that can help reduce global emissions by 45%.
There have been growing concerns around sustainability as manufacturing represents 54% of energy consumption worldwide and 20% of global emissions. Yet research shows that addressing just five manufacturing areas could reduce emissions by the same amount as eliminating all transportation. Digitalization has helped increase sustainability and efficiency through new technologies such as AI and IoT to cut waste and byproducts and convert them into resources. There is value in embracing sustainability as it can encourage company longevity. Responsible waste management reduces costs, and green processes ensure that regulatory requirements are met on time while driving further innovation and strengthening the company’s image.
Although the factory of the future provides several benefits such as workforce optimization and support for closed-loop manufacturing, for it to be successful, the factory of the future will need versatile teams with the ability to interpret data and work in AR environments, a scalable production to maintain agility and increase efficiency, and technology that can be reconfigured to house new products as well as changes. The factory of the future would also need to leverage Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) to model potential disruptions, proactively build supply network resilience, and leverage AI and machine learning for decision-making.
Although creating a feasible factory of the future plan requires strong internal skills to assess possible opportunities for disruption, formulate and implement a strong strategy, and drive transformation success, having the right people, processes, and technology will provide you with the support needed for your transformation journey.
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