Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly finding its place in most business practices and everyday applications. What used to be a thing you would normally see in sci-fi movies is now changing the way the entire world works.
AI solutions are already in use because they provide all kinds of benefits. Of course, AI solutions are introduced into business practices to improve productivity, employee efficiency, and help bring operations to the next level. Let's dig deeper and see how AI helps with cost reduction and improve business efficiency.
The Technology Behind AI in Manufacturing
Before we get to the benefits of this revolutionary technology, we first have to explain how it works. The setup is pretty simple, but there are a few challenges businesses have to face until they're able to use AI and machine learning (ML) to improve their operations.
Internet of Things - IoT
IoT or the Internet of Things refers to a new technology that interconnects existing machines into one system with a central dashboard. Each machine is fitted with a small data-generating sensor that monitors performance and sends all data to the central ML model that learns how everything works over time.
After a few weeks or months, the ML can identify bottlenecks and operational issues. The AI in charge can then use the incoming data to predict machinery behavior and automate repetitive tasks. The AI takes over most processes, taking the load off your employees, allowing them to focus on other critical processes.
IoT technology leads to other AI-driven practices such as Digital Twin (DT). It is a type of real-time simulation technology that uses real-world data generated by sensors and recreates the entire process in a digital environment. Once it's up and running, businesses can run all kinds of simulations in various settings to test new product designs, machinery, and processes.
DT technology is quickly finding an application across many different industries. It allows businesses to test ideas and solutions without actually spending resources on prototypes. This approach leads to a significant cost reduction and other revolutionary practices such as predictive maintenance, but we'll get to that in a minute.
Benefits of AI in Manufacturing
AI-powered manufacturing solutions are taking over most markets by storm because of the many benefits they provide. Their primary focus is on improving flexibility, efficiency, and productivity while reducing costs and human errors. Let's see how that works exactly.
1. Detailed Scheduling
In a world where data makes the most difference in productivity, data analytics is a must if you want to grow your business. One of the primary benefits of AI in manufacturing is its ability to create schedules and stick to them.
Unlike humans that have a limited view of the operation, AI sees every little detail. That's why it's much more accurate at creating schedules and finding ways to improve business processes. It can make predictions using all kinds of data to optimize production while reducing waste, downtimes, and reducing costs.
2. Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is arguably one of the most revolutionary practices ever introduced in manufacturing. It's possible only due to advanced AI solutions and IoT sensors. Namely, all machines in the production line are fitted with a sensor that monitors their performance. The sensors monitor temperature, vibrations, power consumption, and other details. After some time, the AI in charge can accurately predict the exact moment a machine will break down.
Knowing the state of every machine in real-time is a complete game-changer in manufacturing. The process of predictive maintenance is already changing industries by reducing costs and minimizing downtimes. Instead of reactive and regular maintenance that come with long downtimes and high costs, predictive maintenance cuts the costs and the downtimes. That way, you will never be surprised by a sudden stop in production, and you won't need reserve parts for every machine.
3. Error Minimization
Whether it's a production error, a human error, or a design flaw, mistakes like these can harm ROI and lead to expensive repairs. Most production lines are made from hundreds of elements, so it's not hard to make a mistake. However, with AI in charge of most processes, the number of errors is reduced tenfold.
The AI will make better decisions and find new ways for reducing errors constantly. It is always one step ahead of the system. It can minimize mistakes and improve overall efficiency. AI practically eliminates human errors, leading to a drastic cost reduction on repairs.
4. Higher Production Output
Automation is one of the primary technologies used for cost reduction. With the help of AI, businesses now can automate most manufacturing processes, taking the human factor out of the equation. Instead of multiple workers, you will need only one overseer.
Once the AI controls production, it improves manufacturing efficiency, the production output, and reduces operational costs. In other words, AI-driven production lines can produce more products at lower costs.
5. Better Customer Service
You need excellent customer service to build brand loyalty and keep your clients happy. However, traditional customer service systems are expensive and limited by work hours, time zones, and languages. Even if you hire the best support agents, you will have a hard time keeping up with customer inquiries, especially when your business starts to grow.
AI-powered customer support can surpass all of these challenges and significantly improve your customer service. AI chatbots can provide full support 24/7 in multiple languages, ensuring that all of your customers get the help they need. The best part is that you'll be able to answer far more inquiries while reducing costs.
6. Product Development
Product development is one of the most expensive processes manufacturers have to cover. Some products or services require months of work to perfect, and even then, most of them have to go through multiple revisions before making it to the market. AI can help with cost reduction here too.
AI-assisted product development software can use customer-generated data to create ideal products according to their needs. Most AI-designed products look unlike any product designed by a human because of a different approach. Moreover, all AI-designed products are usually flawless and provide better performance. That leads to higher customer satisfaction and more sales.
7. Other Operating Cost Reduction
Apart from introducing revolutionary practices that save business owners a lot of money in manufacturing, AI can also help reduce the costs of other key business processes through automation. That includes processes outside of manufacturing, such as:
- Repair costs
- Office rent
- Marketing costs
- Bank charges
- Office supply costs
- Salary expenses
Of course, these are just some processes where AI makes a significant cost reduction. Some costs are reduced significantly, others are minimized indirectly. For example, once AI takes control of most processes, you can save money by reducing your workforce. AI is a one-time investment that pays off over time.
Data science is here, and it's changing the entire world as we know it. AI solutions today use advanced technologies to improve manufacturing efficiency and productivity. It will give you an edge over your competitors and prepare your business for the future.
The bottom line is that AI offers numerous benefits that lead to a significant cost reduction. Its ability to identify patterns to improve efficiency and the productivity of the entire operation.