Before discussing the future of manufacturing industry, it is important to discuss a bit about the context. During the global pandemic in2020, the industry experienced a sudden big disruption. After vaccination of significant percentage of population, the situation at the start of 2022 is normal.
Undoubtedly, we create solutions for overcoming emergency situations. In case of prolonged emergencies, the solutions we create become part of our life. This is what has happened in the global manufacturing sector because of the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Technologies employed to tide over the pandemic have become a standard feature in the industry. To illustrate, there was exponential demand for installation of medical oxygen gas plants but the resources required for delivering orders were scarce. The companies used cutting-edge technologies including robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytics, etc, to overcome scarcity of manpower.
Going forward, use of the cutting-edge technologies is going to increase substantially year after year. In the near future, the entire manufacturing industry will go through a complete transformation.
Emphasis on local manufacturing
There was supply crisis in the wake of the pandemic. Consequently, there was drastic fall in production and manufacturing. Supplies took a hit as the factories as manpower was not available in full attendance. Overwhelming percentage of workforce became ill and many more could not come because social distancing restrictions.
Granted availability of adequate workforce was not a big issue. Certainly, our local manufacturing was not robust and extensive enough to manufacture PPE and other emergency kits. In the aftermath of this crisis, India will embark on increasing domestic manufacturing. More and more countries will increase domestic manufacturing.
With increase in local manufacturing, we will also see big rise in automation. However, the problem before every country is that consumers want lower prices made possible by Chinese-made products. Therefore, it has become important for manufacturers to increase automation and decrease labor costs to come up with products with lower cost per unit.
Automation will be the key in exponentially increasing production if and when demand rises sharply. If there will be a spike in demand as caused by global pandemic, the automated processes will take care of increased production.
Use of robotics
In industry 4.0, use of robots is increasing in the manufacturing sector. It is a harbinger for new shift and is called as the next industrial revolution. Manufacturing businesses are opting for automation, IoT, robotics and artificial intelligence.
However, the new technological processes powered IoT and AI is just beginning. Costs of implementation of technology are higher as it is the starting phase of the technology. And, it is still going through improvements.
By all means, businesses that have adopted the technology are reaping excellent benefits of early adoption. Their bottom line has already improved. Being the first movers they are far ahead of the game. This proactive decision will pay them excellent results in the future.
There is high probability that soon manufacturing industry will see the introduction of collaborative robots (Cobots). These are new types of robots which will work with workers to increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes and reduce costs. Moreover, they will also substantially improve quality, reduce production deadlines.
Greater adoption of digital technology
Many businesses incurred heavy losses during the global pandemic. Losses of companies with no digital technology extended severely. Lack of proper digitization stopped them from responding properly to the pandemic crisis. Companies powered by digital technologies were able to leverage its power.
Even amidst the pandemic, the digitally enabled businesses were able to manufacture at their full capacity. Moreover, they even took orders beyond the capacities and then expanded it quickly. However, all the businesses learned the lesson, especially the ones in the manufacturing sector.
Thousands of manufacturing businesses opted for speedy installation of digital systems along with AI and automation. There is no denying it is hard to survive in the industry without adoption of cutting-edge technologies. Especially, medical oxygen plant manufacturers were the first to automate their processes.
No doubt, there was heavy rush amongst medical and allied equipment makers to complete their digitization. These companies were getting unprecedented level orders. Of course, they did realize that fulfilling orders would require automation. And, they were able to install the necessary technology upgrades. Profit-wise, they did really well.
With the adoption of robotics and Internet technologies, manufacturers ensured efficiency, certainty and ability to scale up. They have systems that made them capable to tide over any kind of emergency situations. In this way, many of the leading companies in the manufacturing sector took advantage of the rising trend in demand.
Now the trends established during the pandemic will continue. Even when the viciousness of the pandemic is over still most of the leading companies are pushing for digitalization. They are planning for future and are also deploying IoT, robotics and machine learning. This will equip to be ready for any future disruptions.
Remote working to continue
Digitization will go on increasing. Undeniably the future is digital and numerous other emerging cutting-edge technologies. And, remote work facilities and processes will be put in place. Having the manpower able to work in remote setting is crucial.
Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence will help in reducing labor cost. Manufacturers will be employing less staff. Automatic processes through AI and robotics will run all production with the help of a few staff. In future, number of workers will continue to fall. They will manage all aspects from manufacturing, procurement and inventory management to the customer management.
Small number of workers will also see run diagnostic tools for checking. By using big data, artificial intelligence, and deep learning, the senior employees can oversee working of machinery and real-time monitoring of data.
Remote workers can work seamlessly by incorporating IoT and AI. These workers will have access to the real time data of the company. Moreover, onsite managers will be able to check out their real time performance. Monitoring of remote employees will improve workflow and efficiency. Overall, adopting of cutting-edge technologies will not only improve the profits but also make them ready to face future challenges.