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BW Businessworld

Reimagining The Manufacturing Sector

Supply chains efficiency will increase by reducing complexity with AI and machine learning to deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time and drive profitability.

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Rapid Digitalisation, agile manufacturing and supply chain resilience will be critical to address limitations of the industry and strengthen the industry’s growth across all development indicators. As we start a new decade, it is time to learn and unlearn to prepare for the growth in the next normal. 

The pandemic highlighted critical issues for the manufacturing sector such as material shortage, drop in demand, disruption in supply chains, worker scarcity, and cash-flow and planning concerns. While many businesses reconfigured their production, supply chains and services, the shift toward digitally enabled manufacturing is only going to ramp up. 

Intelligent and Agile Factories 

Businesses who embrace agile manufacturing will achieve new levels of productivity by strengthening operational technology with IT innovations using IoT, cloud, AI and mixed reality. Manufacturers will be able to monitor equipment and predict anomalies for pre-emptive upkeep which will enable them to significantly reduce downtime. 

Zeiss Group, an internationally leading technology enterprise in optics and optoelectronics, has embraced a cloud-first approach and deployed Microsoft Azure compute, AI and IoT. They are helping OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to improve quality management, build more powerful, energy-efficient microchips and deliver new digital solutions and device maintenance. 

Resilient Supply chains 

Supply chains efficiency will increase by reducing complexity with AI and machine learning to deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time and drive profitability. Technology will enable manufacturers to maintain optimal inventory levels, manage costs, avoid disruption, and increase agility and responsiveness. Data and  analytics will play a critical role in analysing and mitigating supply chain risk. They will enable real time visibility and deeper insights into identifying the best approach to allocate and reallocate inventories. Manufacturers can streamline supply chain with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and Azure IoT Central by rapidly building and deploying solutions. 

Unlocking innovation 

All the data coming in from IoT sensors, field service, sales, factories, and the supply chain can be used to speed innovation, realise a faster speedto- market and improve the quality of products and services or product-as-a-service. With connected product innovation solutions, insights into which products and features customers are using without waiting for customer survey results are available. 

Workforce Transformation 

Equipping workforce with the skills and manufacturing technology they need to keep up, as the industry shifts gears, will be vital. Advancing modern roles, re-skilling to accelerate a data-driven culture, and empowering the first-line worker will be as important as embracing technology to leapfrog into the next phase. Larsen & Toubro is empowering their global workforce and making it futureready by adopting Microsoft Teams. They have streamlined employee communications across geographies to make faster, data-driven decisions. 

The business impact of the new normal is here to stay but by embracing digital transformation, manufacturers can achieve more. Microsoft is constantly engaging with partners, customers, and industry associations to empower new, innovative ideas and enable businesses to deal with what lies ahead in the coming year.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Irina Ghose

The Author is the Director of Cloud Solutions at Microsoft India

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