Building the Factory of the Future: Key Takeaways for Manufacturing Leaders

Factory of the future, also called smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0, results from fast-altering disruptive technologies striking manufacturers’ cyclones. Operational technology, as well as information technology, are both observing great advancements and innovations.

The confluence of these two technologies is generating a paradigm transition. As a result, the manufacturing sector is undergoing the fourth industrial revolution.

In Africa, the future of work is playing out moderately different from the occurrence in advanced economies. As a result, new technologies are likely to develop new jobs and boost the productivity of existing ones. Within the world of technology, this section focuses on digital technologies as these technologies have the potential for rapid future generation and are also adopted across the world. This approach also includes the generation and adoption of low-skill-biased technologies that enable low-skilled workers to learn and upgrade their skills on the job.

Recent evidence points to large positive employment effects and no displacement of low-skill jobs in African countries after the arrival of fast internet connectivity. Digital technologies influence employment through a suite of different channels, comprising changes in firm entry, increase in productivity, and changes in exports.

Results of smart manufacturing along with foundational technology- The Internet of Things shows 80% increased efficiency and 42% lesser product defects in manufacturing processes. This approach indicates the best time to invest and implement such technologies is now. As a result, one can expect better growth in the manufacturing sector and a strong boost to the continent’s economy.

Trends and Technologies shaping the African manufacturing sector.

While the specific emphasis is on digital technologies, other technical upgrading categories enable organizations to retain jobs and skills.

Repurposing local items: For example, the global demand for outfits sharply decreased during the pandemic, while Africa had a large demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). In the face of global export bans on COVID-19 essentials, governments supported the repurposing of local manufacturing firms into PPE production. This strategy ensured that skills were being retained for sustainable production in Africa. This scenario was particularly evident in garment companies in the Hawassa Industrial Park and Transgreen in Ethiopia.

Need for Adaptive Innovation: In Africa, innovation and technological development have mostly relied on governments providing the enabling business environment, investing in research and development (R&D), and supplying the analog complement, for example, electricity and the regulatory framework (top-down model). However, the private sector can implement adaptive innovations and inventions operating in an entrepreneurial model and often sponsors development partners (bottom-up model).

Expanded use of digital technologies: Many industries expanded the use of digital technologies in response to the pandemic. The survey conducted by Business Pulse of 18 countries in Africa shows that 22% of organizations either started or increased the use of the internet, social media, and other digital technologies. The intensity in the use of digital technologies was higher in financial, manufacturing, information, and communications services. Over time, a greater percentage of Kenyan associations adopted digital technologies in response to the pandemic, especially among manufacturing firms and small firms, driving increased sales and employment in these countries.

Learn more at: Manufacturing IT Summit – Africa Edition

Event by Exito Media Concepts

Africa’s Manufacturing Sector: Gaps and Opportunities

Africa is now seen as a continent full of growth opportunities, especially in the manufacturing sector.

Fuel, food and beverages, chemicals, glass, ceramics, and cement form the bulk of manufacturing industry in the continent. As part of post-pandemic recovery and increase in demand, the manufacturing sector is expected to hit $666 billion by year-end.

There is certainly a high need to empower manufacturing stakeholders in the continent to enter the new age of innovation and technology and ensure better sustainability to compete in production and trade with western countries.

Potential for Africa’s manufacturing sector in the world

In Africa, the average age group of people from 14-24 years are expected to grow more than double this year compared to 2015. Hence, one can expect high growth in the youth and thus a direct result in robust growth in the manufacturing sector. Countries like Uganda, Tanzania, etc. have also witnessed the interest of investors in varied sectors. The Free Trade area launch in 2018 has been another significant step towards encouraging manufacturing and industrialization in the continent.

5 digital transformation strategies that could boost growth in the manufacturing sector in Africa

1. Hybrid Future Work

Organizations should adopt a hybrid/ blended workplace model to maintain mobility. The hybrid workplace model is a combination of both remote and office work together. It gives employees the flexibility to work in both environments. Much like the rest of the world, Africa’s manufacturing sector will greatly benefit from a hybrid work model. This model empowers employees with access to individual tasks with automated workflows coupled with the physical office for collaborative tasks with peers and groups.

2. Cloud Computing

The future workspace aligned with cloud computing is one of Africa’s key industry technology trends in 2021. It will enable businesses to stop investing in costly infrastructure. Instead, businesses can already implement cloud computing in the workplace, storing their data in highly secured cloud systems. Only authenticated users can access and edit information on it anytime.

3. Automation

Automation equipment aid in automating the activities and measure performance. Automation enhances the efforts of the workforce that in turn drives productivity. Automation can even facilitate the creation of new job positions. The critical, regular operations can also be efficiently handled through automated processes without errors. Digital Twin Technology is yet another application of automation that is gaining traction in product development and business performance improvement.

4. Bringing your atmosphere into the remote workforce

The significant obstacle of current periods is that the businesses are exponentially shifting towards a remote workforce . It has sustained business continuity and has given employees the flexibility and accessibility to be productive. So, Bringing-Your-Own-Environment gives employees the freedom to be reliant on the remote working system. This increases productivity and ensures a better employee experience.

5. Creating a compelling employee experience

Organizations should host training and development workshops and modules to train employees at their own pace. Employees should have the freedom to use social media systems to voice their ideas and opinions related to tasks and operations, ensuring a transparent workplace. When employees work remotely, organizations also need to showcase periodic feedback and training to keep them motivated.

The aforementioned digital transformation strategies can certainly drive growth in African manufacturing sector, while propelling them towards a better future.

Learn more: Africa edition-Manufacturing IT Summit​

5 Ways Location-based Intelligence Can Enhance Supply Chain Performance

Since COVID-19 has taken over the world, business trends are witnessing a new era of change. Companies are in the process of shifting supply chain to meet the new normal while retaining quality for their customers. There has been a reasonable spike in supply chain innovation post COVID. Location-based intelligence is one such technology that has been helping supply chain resiliency in 2021. Supply chain demands understanding the customer needs and planning accordingly. In the same regard, location-based intelligence can help provide extended vision to contribute towards supply chain innovation post COVID. Let’s take a look at five ways to enhance supply chain performance using location- based intelligence –

  1. Get to know the right “WHERE” for supply demand

In order to design a near perfect supply plan, you need to understand the demand plan (which includes the places and stores with a high demand). With the help of location- based intelligence systems, you can spot the shops with high traffic. Once you know the demand region, you can further plan on how to meet customer needs in the coming weeks and months based on the analysis. This gives a fair idea of inventory alignment by providing advanced insights.

2.Get to know your customer’s requirements

For enhancing supply chain innovation post COVID, it is a priority to understand your customers. If implemented, location-based intelligence plays a key role in determining the likes and dislikes of your customers. With the help of location-based intelligence, you can track the movement of your customers and collect the required customer data such as – where your customer visits more or less frequently? Which counter has a greater number of foot tracks? How long do they stay at your store? etc. This will give supply chain management a fair idea of what is the exact nature and requirement of their customer.

3. Get to know the “accurate inventory”

Location-based intelligence comes with benefits beyond just understanding customers and places. It will help you with your database management as well. Along with tracking traffic for a place or store, one can also track a traffic for a particular product or counter. This will help know the products that are in high demand and eventually suggest supply chain managers to ensure that the product quantity is stocked up.

4.Enhance your Supply Chain Analytics

Supply chain analytics include risk analysis, risk management, enhancing planning accuracy, waste reduction etc. There are supply chain tools already available that provide study of a number of factors such as transportation, logistics, demand and risk analysis. Here, location-based intelligence comes as an additional tool which gives a deeper analysis by collecting information for queries like – which locations are high in demand and which are not? Which areas are facing delivery issues? Are the delivery vehicles sufficient to meet the needs? And so on.

5. Enhance Predictions and Accuracy

Majority of location-based intelligence integration with supply chain is done baselining AI and machine learning. Based on the consumer data collected using location-based intelligence, predictive modelling can be performed and worked upon to enhance the accuracy. These can be anomaly detection, enhancement prediction, root cause analysis etc.

For supply chain innovation post COVID, location-based intelligence can be of huge
impact which will help businesses enhance themselves and to be a step ahead always.

Learn more about this at the Manufacturing IT Summit
Event organized by Exito Media Concepts

Why Digital Twin Needs to be a part of your IoT strategy in 2021

Digital Twin to the rescue, for complex IoT systems. .The idea of digital twin technology in IoT has been in talk for more than decades now,but many companies are yet to adopt the same. As per Gartner 2019 research, 13% of companies with IoT projects are already using digital twin, while 62% of the other companies are in the process of bringing in the use of digital twin for their IoT projects. Around 1970, NASA was amongst the early adopters of digital twin.

Twin-win for Manufacturing Industry. .
Digital twin technology for IoT is one of the fastest-growing among the top manufacturing technology trends of 2021. Most of the twin applications are spread across manufacturing,
which includes –

Product Development – With the help of digital twin, engineers can test various aspects of a product before actually launching it. Engineers then plan the feasible strategy as per the output it generates.
Product re-creation – In order to create a different product version, a digital twin can be used to provide similar product’s data to the production system for re-creation. This will significantly reduce the overall production time required.
●Predictive Maintenance – Companies can predict possible downtime of machines by deploying digital twins. This escalates the manual effort and handles failure much before it actually takes place.
●Aerospace – Engineers perform predictive analysis with the help of digital twin to detect any sort of future issues with respect to engines, airframes and other aero parts. This ensures life safety to a greater extent.
●Business performance Improvement – Digital twin can be employed to analyze and monitor defects in products and dynamically recommend engineers on the same. The list is way beyond the above mentioned and includes applications such as self- driving car design and development, process planning, system virtual setup etc. With a range of powerful applications and possibilities, it is doubly exciting to have a look at
some amazing use cases in production –
●Kaeser – Kaeser is among the top manufacturing U.S. organizations, who applied digital twins and transitioned itself from mere product sellers to selling a service. The applied Digital Twin Technology in IoT system constantly monitors and provides the company with component’s operational data during its process lifecycle. Outcome of
which was, the company saw significant business growth and reduced commodity costs by nearly 30%. The company also managed to welcome 50% of all major sellers using digital twins.
●Stara – Stara, a Brazil based tractor manufacturing industry utilized digital twin technology in IoT for modernizing farming ways. Industries can enhance its equipment performance, by fitting its tractors with IoT sensors. Also, using Stara’s methods, farmers reduced 21% of seed usage and 19% of fertilizer usage, leading to significant cost saving.
●Amazon – Amazon utilized digital twins in e-commerce by flashing consistent remarketing ads. As a result, the company is gaining huge traction and business growth.

●Addepto – Using digital twins, Addepto developed an operation control system to collect aerospace information. This way the industry improved decision-making and saved a great deal of money, time and reduced defects downstream.
“The rise of digital twins coincides with the rise of the IoT. When buying machines and other assets, support for digital twins and continuous development of twin capabilities should be a selection factor,” says Schulte, Distinguished Vice President Analyst, Gartner.

Learn more about this at the Manufacturing IT Summit
Event organized by Exito Media Concepts