Technological innovation will revive manufacturing sector for Industry 4.0
The 2016 Annual Manufacturing Report, published by Hennik Research, has revealed that British manufacturers are predominantly optimistic about the future of the sector. The fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming the manufacturing and construction landscape with the aid of technologies like automation, sensors, and 3D printing that produce higher efficiency, reduced costs, and faster speed to market. Companies must decide to either adopt these innovations or face the prospect of being left behind.
According to Nitin Rakesh, CEO and President of digital modernisation firm Syntel: “The digital age has disrupted many different aspects of manufacturing, from research and development, to marketing and sales. Businesses cannot afford to put production on hold in order to modernise, but must transform their manufacturing processes in order to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.”
The report states that 83 percent of companies have implemented a form of automation in their production process over the past five years. The few companies which did not automate their technology systems cited financial considerations as an inhibitor, with 54 percent fearing that return on investment would be too slow to materialise, while 31 percent were unable to accommodate the investment in their budget, being concerned about ongoing costs.
“Financial pressures in the manufacturing sector are prompting organisations to re-assess how they use technology in their manufacturing operations, to determine how they can best modernise their systems in order to maintain a competitive edge,” said Rakesh. “Cost-conscious businesses need to realize that their long-term run-the-business costs will be higher without the proper technology infrastructure in place.”
The report revealed key factors prompting manufacturers to invest in automation. 78 percent were driven by increased efficiency, 60 percent by cycle time and 58 percent by quality. Factory managers are deploying new supply-network management tools, which support them in planning operations and deliveries by gaining a better understanding of the flow of raw materials and products.
Rakesh points to modernising and automating back-end support systems as a key driver that can enable manufacturers to cut costs and improve efficiency.
“The digital revolution has reached the factory floor,” said Rakesh. “Investments in IoT-enabled machinery and connected devices now enable manufacturers to harness data from these assets to optimise factory operations.”
“The insights available allow organisations to monitor the input, boost their output and maintain a high level of quality control. Through integrated sensor and automation technology, organisations are positioned to make more effective decisions in other areas such as finance, product design and distribution.”