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Stabilizing the Manufacturing Industry by Leveraging Smart Manufacturing

With digital transformation, manufacturing processes are unifying, making them faster, and paving the way for smart manufacturing. Companies in the manufacturing industry can stay agile and swiftly adjust their business models using the latest technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and connected robotics. This allows them to stay ahead of the competition and explore new business models and practices. To reach this point, a robust digital database is the first step in transitioning from analog to smart manufacturing.

By 2026, the global smart manufacturing market is expected to reach USD 236.12 billion, registering a CAGR of 5.75% over the forecast period (2020-2026).


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The Shift to Smart Manufacturing

No doubt, manufacturing, product improvement, and distribution is continuously revolutionized by the rapid evolving Industry 4.0, which integrates emerging technologies, such as IoT, cloud computing, analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, throughout production facilities and manufacturing businesses. These technologies are unquestionably supporting the transition of industries from legacy systems to smart components and machines. This facilitates the development of smart factories, together with their digital twins and, eventually, an ecosystem of connected plants and enterprises.

Digitalization has become more prevalent in the business world in recent years, but to realize the cost and resource benefits of smart manufacturing, modernization and digitalization must be carefully planned and executed.

The evolution of customer preferences and demand uncertainty is disrupting planning systems.

In reviewing the turning points in the evolution of industrial manufacturing businesses, it is clear that the pandemic had a significant effect on accelerating the pace of digitalization, as well as triggering a series of disruptive developments. Looking at the oil and gas industry at the present time, we are witnessing a new turning point caused by several challenges, and most businesses in smart manufacturing are implementing measures to reduce and eliminate unexpected plant shutdowns.

Consequently, businesses are forced to look for alternative global supply chains due to disruptions in logistics, trade barriers, and national security concerns. As such, there are certain areas in need of drastic reductions in operational costs and capital expenditure, as well as others in need of rapid expansion.

These aspects indicate a significant shift in manufacturing flows and management due to distance and remote work. Increased environmental concern is associated with this shift, prompting companies to reconsider their manufacturing strategies. But, as this article will demonstrate, such concerns can provide opportunities for growth and digital innovation throughout industrial manufacturing.


Resource and Cost Optimization Benefits of Digitalization

Business owners continuously aim to save time and money, but manual processes can result in substantial losses of resources in today’s smart manufacturing environment. As a result of inefficient processes, organizations can lose as much as 30% of their annual revenue. Digitalization has the significant benefit of reducing the time and effort required to complete a task, as well as the expense associated with performing it.

Disruptions have historically prompted many verticals, including industrial manufacturing, to embrace novel ways of working, driving them to innovate. Several advances in emerging technologies are contributing to the development of Industry 4.0, which has encouraged companies to become more agile in managing their operations. This has resulted in a reduction in operating costs and an increase in output that allows stable growth. Technology in Industry 4.0 simplifies operations, reduces waste, streamlines workflow, improves processes, avoids defects, and ensures stable operation.

Smart technologies such as automation, robotics, IoT, and all the latest digital tools reduce human errors, increase production rate, improve quality, and more. Enabling technology will allow manufacturers to transform scheduling and capacity planning and manufacture finished products within the planned timeframes.

With flexible automation, data can be centrally managed with comprehensive visibility across all functionalities, including production, inventory, design, sales, etc., simplifying operations. Digital performance management, when coupled with well-designed software and quality analytics, can become a critical competitive advantage since it enables better estimating, planning, adjusting, and responding to changing market conditions. Additionally, manufacturers can help with on-time delivery of products by identifying and correcting the root causes of quality defects using quality analytics.

93% of industrial manufacturing companies use AI in their processes, primarily machine learning procedures.

This is not surprising since AI and machine learning enable costs to be optimized by monitoring defects, predictive and preventive maintenance, or accurate forecasting.


Leveraging Smart Manufacturing to Achieve Environmental Goals

In terms of value offering, the organization must place a strong emphasis on maintaining client satisfaction, which includes timely delivery of products as well as meeting the changing needs of customers. A pressing need that has gained importance in recent years is the development of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.

Taking advantage of Industry 4.0 is a good way to implement environmental-friendly initiatives. Industrial manufacturing businesses can utilize Industry 4.0 technologies to reduce waste, switch to renewable energy, repurpose materials and resources, and reduce costs.

An example of reliable smart technology is automation, which minimizes production waste and reduces energy consumption.

Certainly, manufacturing firms have the opportunity to experiment with various innovations, as well as to work towards an eco-friendly and sustainable manufacturing process. But this requires a well-defined and improved manufacturing operations management process and a team of custom software developers with a thorough understanding of the unique requirements of each organization.


Overall, digital transformation within the Industry 4.0 sphere enhances data connectivity more effectively on various levels. From B2B to warehouse management, smart and innovative technologies strategically optimize access through holistic optimization. The goal is to improve the performance of businesses, supply chains, production planning, execution and monitoring. In such cases, software engineering solutions for manufacturing are increasing organizational transparency, aiding in cost reduction, and increasing sustainability of factory systems.

You may wish to keep an eye on Fortech’s page as we will release part II of this article in which we discuss some reliable technologies that support digitalization in industrial manufacturing as well as what might be in store for smart manufacturing in the next five to ten years, given current technological advancements.

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