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Smart Manufacturing has been making a lot of noise in the manufacturing industry, mostly due to how automation can greatly improve manufacturing operations through enhanced productivity. Also known as the “New Industrial Revolution”, this may indeed drastically shift the entire world of manufacturing.

So, what is it?

According to Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, Smart Manufacturing is defined as “integrating network-based data and information that comprises the real-time understanding, reasoning, planning, and management of all aspects of a manufacturing and supply chain enterprise.” It is basically a term highlighting the different technologies used in manufacturing to make the processes more efficient and more effective.

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However, as of 2014, 87% of U.S. companies reportedly did not use Smart Manufacturing despite reports in increased efficiency, lower product defects, and customer satisfaction gains by those using Smart Manufacturing. The 87% may be having reservations because the new standards are yet to be implemented.

Although there are existing frameworks, and initiatives on standardization done by some countries like USA, China, and Germany, these may not be enough for some manufacturers to use Smart Manufacturing. But why wait? Smart Manufacturing is in a continuous development phase, so why not reap the following benefits now?

Improved Productivity

When factories automate certain aspects of production, the processes are made more efficient. Resource management is more manageable: energy, time, materials, and manpower are regulated towards creating better products with much less resources. Product consistency, as well, is easily achieved, which is not only important but critical in manufacturing.

Real-time System Assessment

The entire manufacturing process is broken down in its different phases for a more in-depth monitoring and evaluation of each step and procedure. Any challenges, possible weaknesses, and points of improvements are easily identified and can be resolved much quicker. Communication will be elevated with the help of real-time monitoring, paving way to more efficient resolutions.

Financial Gains

Venturing into Smart Manufacturing is an investment with great returns. Though a bit costly initially, with new pieces of equipment and their maintenance, increase in revenue and reduction in costs will be seen in the long run. Businesses implementing Smart Manufacturing may slowly integrate automation in their productions through purchases of smaller equipment, so costs are not too high too suddenly.

Enterprise Sustainability

Efficient use of resources in the production aims to eliminate wastes, including manpower schedule and even the usage of machines. Smart Manufacturing enhances better communication between operators, engineers, and managers by displaying results even during production. Real–time system assessment accomplishes the first critical steps to keep operations afloat. These are all contributing factors toward turning the business to sustainability, and eventually, consistent business growth.

Customer Satisfaction

As manufacturers heavily rely on the loyalty of customers, they have to ensure their satisfaction first. What customers are looking for is consistent and great-quality products, easily achievable through automation of processes. Happy customers are loyal customers, and loyal customers make manufacturers happy in return.

Though the standardization of Smart Manufacturing is currently evolving and developing, take a step forward and enjoy the benefits today!