Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic right now. This digital technology is top of mind, especially for those in the manufacturing industry. From automating basic decisions to streamlining processes, AI has become a valuable asset in the manufacturing ecosystem. AI is now such a large component of manufacturing businesses that many are asking the big question, “If factories can rely so heavily on machines, won’t they begin to eliminate human jobs altogether?”
We all know that in order to stay competitive, companies have no choice but to turn to AI, Machine Learning, and other disruptive technologies but does that mean factory jobs will become obsolete? Can robots really take the place of humans in the workplace?
Let’s start by discussing what AI is doing for manufacturing businesses:
1. AI can automate and streamline decision making.
Once parameters are established from user input and past company data, Machine Learning enables streamlined decision making. Systems are taught to make decisions and take action based on their data learnings. For example, automated systems can follow pre-established rules and protocols to determine when a product should be substituted to save costs or increase production time.
2. Using Business Intelligence, AI can make extremely accurate forecasts.
The combination of AI and Business Intelligence allows systems to make extremely accurate forecasts. AI technologies use data to create patterns, continuously increasing the systems knowledge, to make future predictions that are much more accurate than any human is capable of.
3. AI and Internet of Things (IoT) can make early predictions of when action is needed.
Internet of Things is “a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.” When used together with IoT, AI is able to eliminate the guesswork by taking the data collected and spot abnormalities that are then used to make early predictions of system updates, maintenance needs, or other actions that need to be taken. The system is even able to determine how serious the threat may be and what steps should be taken such as scheduling maintenance or shutting a system down.
4. AI Can Be Your Personal Assistant.
Having a “personal assistant” available at all times can be a valuable asset for a manufacturing facility. Using company data, an AI personal assistant is able to answer production questions, provide predictions and recommendations, and even perform certain functions and tasks.
5. Automate routine tasks.
Manufacturing facilities are full of routine tasks that take time and money to perform by a human. By using AI, these routine tasks can be automated for simple execution. From scheduling routine maintenance to creating reports, to signaling causes for concern, AI can save time and enhance resources. Using past ordering data, AI can be automated to place re-orders or when a customer makes order changes, AI automation can be used to make the necessary changes, including rerouting materials to ensure orders are met on time.
Along with automation, AI has made huge improvements to worker safety. Robots have taken over many of the most dangerous factory jobs including handling dangerous parts in metal fabrication or heavy, strenuous tasks such as palletizing.
6. Trigger alerts for abnormalities in normal patterns.
AI is able to monitor for abnormalities or inconsistencies in normal patterns. The software is taught to monitor and flag for inconsistent behavior, which is then further investigated by a human. For example, this AI software may flag an abnormality in a customer order if the order is not consistent with past orders, this abnormality will then be checked by a human to ensure it is correct or if changes need to be made. This technology will help decrease order returns and increase customer satisfaction.
7. Quality control using recognition applications.
AI is most definitely more accurate than humans, and because of that, facial recognition software has become a huge factor in increasing security measures. For example, only recognizable faces are given security clearance to enter specific areas of the factory or to make changes to a system. This software can also be used for quality control. Rather than recognize faces, the AI software can recognize products to ensure they are up to quality standards, such as watching for color or size discrepancies, checking packaging, or monitoring for any other visual abnormalities.
But are robots really going to take away our jobs?
The rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence and the unknown of where AI will go in the future has both employees and companies afraid to embrace the positive attributes it can present in a business. But integrating AI and Machine Learning into manufacturing operations is a requirement for a business to successfully grow in today’s technology-filled business world.
Firms that can solve the equation of the human to AI ratio and successfully integrate AI and Machine Learning into their operations, will not only have a leg up on competition, but they will also reduce costs, speed up production, eliminate error, and ultimately make better decisions.
By becoming more productive, a company becomes more competitive, growing in the process. And in order to grow, you need more jobs, and therefore, a company must hire more people.
So, although a company may add more AI to the mix, when done right, more humans must be added as well.
Are you looking for the right AI and Machine Learning solution for your business? Mactores tailors the right solutions to help your company work increase productivity and efficiency giving you the competitive advantage. Learn more about how Mactores can take your company to the next level.