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Key success factors for the future of manufacturing

People, technology and adaptation: companies that keep these key factors in mind will be the leaders shaping the production landscape of tomorrow.

The keys to long-term success in a changing industrial economy

The world of production as we know it is going through a period of radical change. Scattered islands of manufacturing are merging to produce a dynamic landscape, a Future Production Landscape: digital, networked and readily adaptable to changes in the requirements of companies and the demands of the market.

“Those who want to make full use of the potential of future production landscapes and secure a lasting competitive advantage need to establish a link between these three key factors: people, technology and adaptation,” emphasizes industrial robotics expert Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dirk Jacob.

In their long-term planning, companies must harmonize these three key factors. By examining the interplay of these three factors, production processes and systems will be better equipped to deal with the global megatrends shaping the future of manufacturing. What’s more, these key success factors must be reflected in the products and services on offer in order to ensure the generation of added value at each and every stage of the value creation chain.

Learn more about the three key success factors of the production landscape of the future.

People

Generate value at the human-machine interface.

Sustainable production landscapes need people – both in developmental and operational roles. Take your employees with you on your journey into the future of manufacturing. The positive effects of flexible and networked productions systems will only be felt once your employees actively participate in their set-up, operation and optimization.

Simplifying machine interfaces across the board – whether in programming, commissioning, operation, analytics or service purposes – will enable a broad range of employees to use intelligent production technologies and adapt to new job requirements.

Furthermore, technical assistance systems such as cobots, augmented reality and virtual reality are becoming everyday features on production floors. These technologies assist employees as they go about their daily duties, thus paving the way for new working methods and fields of application.

The key factor “People” underlies the basis for the future success of your company. That being said, employees can only deliver their full potential in an working environment that also optimizes for the other key factors “Technology” and “Adaptation”.

Technology

The factory of the future: customizable, networked and intelligent.

By combining Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT), future-oriented manufacturing companies are able to push the existing boundaries of production landscapes. Hardware and software can autonomously monitor and control machines, systems and processes. By integrating equipment into networks, valuable insights can be won through IT-driven developments such as artificial intelligence, Big Data and the Cloud.

Customizable manufacturing technologies such as robot-based production lines, matrix production, and mobile platforms open up a vast range of potential applications and benefits. Because of their adaptable nature, production landscapes outfitted with Industrie 4.0 technologies enable companies to react with agility and efficacy to changing infrastructural conditions, capacity requirements and consumer trends.

A future-oriented approach to the key factor “Technology” will enable your company to operate competitively in a digitalized and automated market environment. However, a truly sustainable production landscape is only achievable through the marriage of “technology” is with “people” and “adaptation”.

Adaptation

Take a proactive approach to new market demands by quickly adopting new technologies

The flexibility of your company’s processes and technologies will determine whether it can adapt to the accelerating pace of technological change. To remain competitive in times of dynamic market trends, companies must invest in open interfaces and networked ecosystems. These investments are the keys to establishing a thriving culture of innovation that can modernize and adapt as needed.

An adaption-focused company might, for example, use plug-ins to load new applications onto robots, thus providing them with enhanced capabilities. By establishing a link to Smart Services, it is possible to identify potential areas for optimization at an early stage and run updates automatically. Even physical adjustments and modifications to robots, cells and systems can be carried out seamlessly by adaptive, customizable technologies.

Networked communities help to establish cooperative environments in which developers, system integrators, production experts and other stakeholders convene. This collaborative environment makes it possible to comprehensively analyze and make full use of the potential of Industrie 4.0 technologies – creating added value for both the user and the supplier.

A strategic approach to the success factor “Adaptation” will enable your company to keep your production technology keyed in to the demands of the moment at all times. However, adaptation can only be implemented successfully and turned into a competitive advantage if it is used in combination with the key factors “People” and “Technology”.

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