The manufacturing industry is an enormous one, raking in an estimated $2244.3 billion last year with a gross output of approximately $6 trillion. But despite its size, the manufacturing industry is also one of the slowest to adopt new technologies.
I know it seems counterintuitive. But as other industries have oriented themselves towards integrating more advanced technologies into their processes, manufacturing has been slow to the punch.
In the past few years, bigger names in manufacturing have started to invest in IoT spending and AI in their workplaces. Forbes estimates that by 2020 the discrete manufacturing business will spend about $40 billion in IoT spending.
This notable technological shift has been nicknamed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or “Industry 4.0.” And while this shift is a large one, it moves at a glacial pace and is not all-encompassing. There are still members of the manufacturing industry that have not joined this movement.
Our software development company has worked with members of the manufacturing industry and has seen this technological shortcoming first hand. Thus, we have compiled three easy ways that individuals in the manufacturing business can modernize their businesses:
1. An Interactive Website
Say you’re a user visiting a company’s website for the first time. The page is not interactive and does not respond in a timely manner— would that diminish your experience with the site and impact your impression of the company? For many users, I would venture to say that it would. Truly, the design is everything.
In order for your site to provide a solid user experience, you must ensure that your site is interactive, responsive, and up-to-date. If your company website is lacking, you are not using it to its fullest potential.
You can make your site more interactive through a chatbot, hovering options over your products, offering product filtering, easy site navigation, drop-down menus, and more. These simple integrations can present your products in an appealing manner and help with the customer service that your business is providing.
For example, Volkswagen on their company site allows users to hover over a car and see its side angle.
If you’re a manufacturer that is not technologically well-versed, this can be a great place to start. Start with your website design and work into further tech integrations from there. If this seems like an impossible feat, you can also get in contact with a web development agency to make things much easier.
2. IoT Integrations
As a manufacturer, you have the potential to make your life easier by making your manufacturing “smarter.” But this isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned smart manufacturing, we said:
“‘Smart manufacturing,’ or the use of AI and other IoT technology in the production of goods, has been streamlining, expediting, and improving nearly all aspects of traditional manufacturing practices for years now.”
What this boils down to: IoT integrations can improve the functionality of your business and the quality of products you are able to provide your consumers.
You can use these IoT tuneups to keep better track of your products, get alerted if there is a defect or damage, receive real-time feedback, monitor warehouses, provide more immediate customer statistics, provide improved customer service, and more. Harnessed properly, IoT technology can reduce costs and improve productivity.
Businesses like Microsoft are advertising how IoT can be extremely beneficial when used in manufacturing. Microsoft says that IoT-friendly businesses can monitor their manufacturing equipment, monitor the performance of their customer’s equipment, and improve their field service.
These IoT tune-ups can help your manufacturing business run smoothly and seamlessly, making your business more competitive with the other tech moguls on the market.
3. Using Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another element of ‘smart manufacturing.’ Artificial Intelligence provides an easier way for your business to predict customer behavior and automate repetitive tasks.
The integration of robots into your business’ production process can reduce your costs, make the workplace safer, and save a human from having to do any tedious, repetitive tasks. Robots can be a staple in warehouses or assembly lines. These advanced algorithms and software can be programmed to make your business more efficient and streamlined.
General Motors, for example, uses AI in their generative design technology and 3D printing advancements to make new lightweight vehicles. Their new production using AI has caused their parts to be 40% lighter and 20% stronger, combining 8 components into one part. Not only saving valuable company time, but improving the quality of their products.
When it comes to AI, it can be a more advanced step for manufacturers that are just dipping their toe into the deep waters of the tech world. However, for the brave manufacturers ready to up their tech game, the use of AI can prove to be extremely beneficial.
Out with the old and in with the new
While some members of the manufacturing industry have made this tech shift, it will soon become industry-wide. If you have not taken advantage of the tech opportunities at your fingertips, you could be wasting your business’ potential.
Now, change can be scary. However, if you’re teamed up with the right agency, it can be painless. Get in contact with an website design and development agency to ease your tech transition.