Automated Factories Shape the Future of Manufacturing Despite Barriers


What makes or breaks the application of modern technologies in manufacturing? The past years have seen many improvements in multiple facets of manufacturing, and affected companies are always looking into the future with confidence.

However, recent shake-ups in the world (as a result of the pandemic, among many other factors) have catalyzed the woes and hopes for the industry.

Nevertheless, the majority of existing and incoming technologies can be leveraged to circumvent these hurdles.

Auditing firm PwC has echoed the said sentiments, that new technologies are in fact changing the face of manufacturing, from robotics, IoT, 3D printing to the overall digital disruption observed across key sectors.

These developments have been put in place to aid efficiencies, enhance productivity and overall output.

In a recent webcast named The Future of Manufacturing, PwC predicts that technology-assisted manufacturing strategies lead the transition to flexible and distributed smart factory.

As the manufacturing sector seeks to implement innovation technology, it is at the same time absorbing workers with fundamentally different qualifications.

What’s more, leading manufacturers and continuously deploying new technologies to automate/digitize production while ramping up their entire supply chain.

The developments are marked by real time data analytics, digitized and flexible production, and predictive technologies, to mention a few.

During the webcast, it became apparent that manufacturers are facing challenges. Among the difficulties experienced include identifying which of the emerging technologies can be game changers.

“As manufacturers adopt new technologies, they should look out for general mistakes that may be overlooked. For instance, new ways to work by building new skills and capabilities, protecting supply chain partners’ sensitive data from unauthorized access,” says PwC Partner, Michael Mugasa.

PwC is also looking forward to explore new markets, and is expecting challenges. For instance, the auditing firm says it is unsure of Return of Investment (ROI). By thinking through the journey, Michael suggestion to manufacturers entails effectively defining problem statements, setting expectations, predicting and accepting for acceptance.

According to the firm, 91% of top management surveyed across Europe are/intend to invest in digital factories. 75% of those surveyed believe that digitization supports customer centricity and will strengthen competitiveness of Europe’s industrial centers.

PwC also examined more than 250 technologies and narrowed down to 8 new solutions that will shape the future of smart manufacturing which include; Internet of Things (IoT) Artificial Intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, drones, robotics, and cybersecurity.

Industry experts have also predicted a 15-20% improvement in overall equipment effectiveness by enhancing full visibility and transparency. They have also foretold an almost 50% reduction in downtime with an expected 15-20% improvement in quality.