How to Embrace Manufacturing Technology While Keeping Your Workforce
The landscape of manufacturing is consistently changing and evolving. The future of manufacturing in America comes with a host of varying emotions: Some businesses feel fear and uncertainty. Some feel excitement and exhilaration at the opportunity for growth, innovation, and technology. Are you prepared for the future of manufacturing?
The Future of Manufacturing
Regardless of how you perceive the future, the present challenges are real. The world has been hit with supply chain shortages , human resources issues, and customer demands for faster response times. Fusion for Industry from Hitachi can help you plan for the future by creating total seamless solutions.
Reality Check: Lights-Out Factories
Lights-out warehousing is no longer a dream; it is a desire. You may be hearing a lot about a “lights-out factory,” but what exactly does that mean for your business? Lights-out manufacturing (also known as a dark factory) is a technique that uses fully automated technology to run a production factory with very little human involvement.
The theory of a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach to manufacturing is a direct reaction to the endless obstacle of finding and keeping employees. Businesses are faced with becoming more data-driven and digital to keep up with customer demand and response times for their products.
There are real and measurable benefits to automation, including fewer worker accidents and greater safety, especially in manufacturing environments where heat and chemicals pose a greater risk to humans; greater operations efficiency; more production consistency (less human error); and more-advanced maintenance strategies.
Additionally, manufacturers are looking to keep their business both sustainable and within the U.S. The overarching need is to be less reliant upon the global supply chain due to the unpredictability of shortages.
How to Upgrade Your Factory for the Future
This is a question that we are all familiar with. Accepting change in the way you are used to doing business can be daunting. But you have to start somewhere, and Fusion for Industry establishes connective industries to make your production transformation a smooth process.
What are connective industries, and why do you need them? Hitachi aims to be a “sustainable value creator,” connecting data, value, industry, and society. Hitachi brings together its portfolio of unrivaled products, connects them to digital, and offers them as solutions to future-proof your operations.
The connected supply chain means connectivity at every level of production. Customers’ needs and preferences are constantly changing, and it is imperative that businesses stay competitive by linking and emphasizing such critical areas as product research and development, agile production with smart equipment, a data-driven factory, and uninterrupted operations through responsive management.
At the core of facilitating automation is precise production data that can drive decision-making for both humans and machines. Manufacturers are armed with data directly from shop floor equipment and schedule production or maintenance based on the performance and health of their machines.
What Does Automation Mean for Employees?
Reducing factory headcount in the interest of automation can be scary for both employees and business owners. While there will always be a need for a reliable human workforce, current employee roles will be reimagined as the factory becomes more automated. For example, simple repetitive tasks are perfectly suited for automation, while more complex tasks and small-scale production runs may require human attention.
Enhanced awareness and training will help employees make that critical shift by removing ambiguity about robots replacing them. Employees of every generation may work together to embrace the concept of running and working within the robotic and digital landscape.
The Cost of Doing Business
There will always be growing pains and challenges in effecting positive and necessary change. Manufacturers are concerned about the up-front cost of standing up a completely automated process. We understand. In some cases, the process of conversion is a highly technical challenge that may require a significant investment; however, the long-term return on investment is proven, benchmarked, and what separates the leaders from laggards in most industrial sectors.
Reports show that around 64% of American businesses will increase their technology investment over the next two years. That means the time to launch your technology plan for the future success of your company is now.
If you’re considering a leap into the future with connective industries, look no further than Fusion for Industry. We’re here to tailor a plan that meets your individual business needs, and we have the resources to help make the transition seamless. Click “Learn More” to get in touch with one of Hitachi’s companies to automate your processes for the future.