SAS: adopting artificial intelligence (AI) in manufacturing

By Georgia Wilson
As the challenges in manufacturing continue to rise due to the impact of COVID-19, we take a look at how artificial intelligence can benefit the industr...

As the challenges in manufacturing continue to rise due to the impact of COVID-19, we take a look at how artificial intelligence can benefit the industry.

With the vast quantities of data available to the manufacturing industry due to its use of sensors and networks and the use of data being more valuable than ever before, the manufacturing industry is primed for the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) to drive business value, during these uncertain times.

“With the difficulties we're confronting today, there has never been a more important time to take full advantage of AI. The answers that AI holds for manufacturing are well-suited to helping them adapt to the pressures and topsy-turvy conditions the pandemic created,” comments SAS.

In a recent global survey - conducted by Forbes and sponsored by SAS, Intel and Accenture - it was revealed that AI deployment has surpassed discrete use cases and experiments, and into enterprise-wide adoption, stating that companies are on the verge of a momentum shift even with the gaps in capabilities and strategy. 

“The truth is that large global manufacturers still rely heavily on older, disconnected machinery”, says Marcia Walker, principal industry consultant, SAS global manufacturing industry practice. 

“So, while many manufacturers are using AI, in this survey we see that they’re using it in unexpected ways – in customer-facing operations, for example, or in the areas of warranty claims and recalls. There’s still so much that manufacturers will be able to do with AI as their businesses evolve and they continue to invest in modernizing other parts of their businesses. The good news is that we’re finally seeing AI move into aspects of manufacturing that have remained analog for years, such as on the factory floor. In production, for example, my own experience shows that image recognition is being more widely adopted,” adds Walker.

With 26% of manufacturing respondents reporting that AI-based technology has been deployed and 50% under development, the figures show an alignment with other industries, suggesting that the sector has embraced the use of AI.

The challenges of adopting AI 

When asked to identify the core challenges for successful implementation and application of AI, manufacturing highlighted: ensuring AI-based outputs are objective and neutral (24%), a lack of development and deployment expertise (26%), organisational culture (22%) and resistance from employees due to concerns about job security (16%).

The future for AI in manufacturing

With the adoption of AI continuing to expand among manufacturers, SAS predicts that the development and adoption of this technology will vary depending on a facility’s operating environment. Key factors that will set a successful facility apart from the others includes: process maturity, connecting analytics to AI, trust in AI and healthy levels of AI oversight. 

To find out more about the adoption of AI in manufacturing, click here!

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