As we close the books on 2021 and focus on 2022, there are likely a few key challenges you need to review. It’s important to closely analyze these aspects of your business, from customer relationships to hiring employees to reshoring options and likely much more. Let’s look at nine manufacturing challenges that companies are expected to battle in the coming year.
Skilled labor gap
With a generation filled with skills entering retirement, the manufacturing industry is witnessing a looming labor shortage. As a result, manufacturers are struggling to find motivated, knowledgeable employees for the job.
The manufacturing industry is increasingly using the Internet of Things. A majority of firms either have already implemented the technology or are on the verge of implementing the Internet of Things machines. These smart machines assist companies in collecting useful information that can aid them in improving productivity and implementing predictive maintenance.
COVID-19 has shown us all that this is a critical time to explore the implementation of automation technologies (and all things Industry 4.0, including collaborative robotics, autonomous material movement, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence).
System age and usability
Today’s workers need an updated system. Internal users require updated systems that can assist them in better job performance. Updated systems offer flexibility, greater insight, and speed - permitting workers to perform their tasks more efficiently and effectively.
Growing with increasing demand
- Increasing capacity - having so much demand that you need to increase capacity can force choices, like moving to a new facility or expanding your existing facility.
- Demand-driven manufacturing - many manufacturers are just keeping up with work based on orders from existing customers, leaving little time or money to invest in other critical initiatives.
Trade war effects
Current trade wars affect all industry sectors. Manufacturing is not an exception since finished products and raw materials are sourced and sold across the globe. In the coming year, the industry is considering tactical changes to ease the impact of trade wars that are always heating up.
Supply chain visibility
There must be real-time, granular visibility within the entire supply chain. Manufacturers must be aware of every detail. They must know when products delay reaching the market. Being updated on such situations will give them an upper hand to adjust or rectify the problem.
Businesses are rethinking their global manufacturing strategies. Companies are motivated to participate in reshoring efforts due to rising foreign wages, rising tariffs, and reconsiderations of the total cost of ownership.
Responding to Covid-19
The effects of COVID-19 have impacted manufacturing, top to bottom. It’s hard, even with a business plan, to adequately address the unpredictable and rapid variables of the outbreak: quarantining, restricting travel options, closing schools, disrupting supply chains, etc.
AR in Manufacturing Use Cases
While the industry faces legitimate challenges like the ones outlined above (and more), manufacturing operations are utilizing forward-thinking solutions and methodologies to overcome them. Several industries, including construction, pharmaceutical, tourism, and others have started utilizing augmented reality (AR) to enhance their business. Manufacturers are increasingly embracing AR because of its many use cases. Here’s an overview of 5 ways Augmented Reality can be used in manufacturing:
- Maintenance - When combined with real-time sensor data and analytics, Augmented Reality technology augments preventative maintenance capabilities that avoid equipment failure and costly shutdowns. The technology can overlay maintenance and asset status information on a screen.
- Efficient logistics - Businesses in the manufacturing sector need to go through a long and tedious process for order fulfillment and warehouse organization. AR can streamline the entire logistics process. With the deployment of AR in manufacturing, employees can access a connected system that shows them the exact location of products.
- Product design - The conventional product design process is extremely lengthy and tedious. AR can reduce the time required for some of the tasks in this process. For instance, AR glasses or apps can show the product design process in real-time to directors or executives.
- Streamlined assembly - Manufacturing companies have to put together thousands of components in complex assemblies as quickly as possible. Businesses can simplify this process by utilizing AR in manufacturing.
- Customer support - Along with technicians and maintenance personnel, businesses in manufacturing can use AR to assist customers and onsite sales representatives.
These Augmented Reality use cases for manufacturing are just the tip of the iceberg. Working with the right technology partner will help your manufacturing company uncover new use cases to augment your business. By implementing AR in manufacturing, businesses can reduce production downtime, identify issues instantly, and offer virtual support in real-time. AR-based solutions can speed up manufacturing operations and make them safer for employees. AR will also assist businesses in the manufacturing sector to streamline multiple operations. AR glasses and AR apps on smartphones and tablets can overlay crucial information such as stats, images, and 3D models in the real world.
As AR technology continues to develop, businesses will see even more ground-breaking applications. Big players have already started investing in AR in manufacturing for several use cases. With higher investment, developers will have sufficient funding to create advanced apps and compact devices. Eventually, AR devices will become mainstream and inexpensive as the technology continues to become more popular.
Cloud-Driven Network Solutions
Whatever the challenge may be, manufacturing operations must implement a robust, secure, flexible IT network platform to support rapidly changing business and customer demands for their unique environments. INFRASI works closely with manufacturing organizations to advance their technology and business needs. We’re here to help!