The digital factory will change the nature of manufacturing—from mass production to product customization—and allow companies to respond instantly to changes in customer demand or the inevitable production variation, such as supply disruption. It can lead to gains in productivity, performance, output, and market share as well as better control and visibility in the supply chain, and digital innovation can help manufacturers create capacity to enable more profitable growth.
eople are willing to take on low-skilled, manual labor positions, and our economic landscape is driving much of that change. In the U.S., employment growth for occupations requiring higher levels of physical skills rose just 18 percent between 1983 and 2015. In comparison, overall employment grew by 50 percent during the same time frame. Robots and other automation technology are filling the gap of workers who are no longer interested in doing the type of hard, manual labor common in industries like manufacturing.
In their new book, Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, Paul Daugherty and James Wilson make a compelling case for pairing this particular technology with human capital. In their research, they found that companies that focus on human and machine collaboration create outcomes that are two to more than six times better than those that focus on machine or human alone. For instance, BMW has found that robot/human teams were about 85% more productive than the old assembly line process, where you had industrial robots over on one side of the factory and people working on an old automated assembly line.
Capgemini found that the successful manufacturers have mastered the use of data from smart, connected products to build actionable insights. 93% of digitally successful manufacturers have mastered the ability to use data from smart, connected products to gain insights into how they can improve product designs and manufacturing techniques.