Technology and innovation have a tendency to gain tremendous momentum, bringing about innovative changes that cause significant disruption for industries. Those businesses that choose to fight or simply can’t keep up with change share the same dismal fate of falling out of competition. Those businesses that embrace disruption stand a better chance of riding the wave perceived chaos, better equipped to secure position in the state of industry that follows. So far there have been four major upheavals in industry, the most recent of which being coined Industry 4.0.
As if the news of US-imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum didn’t upset a large enough portion of beverage manufacturers already, the most recent developments in US-China trade have left winemakers, along with US-based manufacturers of 127 other products, with a sour taste in their mouths.
Earlier this year, the White House sought to enact tariffs on countries it had described as taking advantage of the US trade policy for some time. In an effort to revitalize US-based metals manufacturing, the order to formally enact tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as high as 25 percent and 10 percent respectively, was signed last month.
Over the last half-century, robots have been relied upon as an integral part of manufacturing. Their presence offers incredible benefits, including enhanced production speed, accuracy, and tireless labor. However, they can’t do it all. As a result, robots have been increasingly prevalent in the manufacturing environment year after year. Engineered to work collaboratively alongside their human counterparts, these smaller and agiler implements on the manufacturing floor are referred to as collaborative robots.
In the wake of what is likely the first occurrence of its kind, Uber Technologies Inc. has decided to halt its field testing of autonomous vehicles in cities like, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto, and Phoenix after one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. It has been reported that the pedestrian stepped in front of the autonomous vehicle suddenly, which will likely take focus as authorities continue investigating the incident that occurred Sunday night.
What is known at this point is that the woman had crossed the street outside of a crosswalk when she was struck. The autonomous vehicle did have a human safety driver supervising inside the cabin of the vehicle, who said the incident occurred “like a flash”. The supervisor also reported their first indication of the collision was the sounds of the collision itself. Some experts following the industry closely expressed significant alarm when it was revealed no braking or swerving maneuvers were enacted to avoid the collision. The incident took place around 10 pm local time, at which point the pedestrian was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. She later succumbed to her injuries. According to local authorities, Uber is cooperating fully with the Tempe Police Department during the investigation.
Manufacturers are implementing technological advancements to enhance automation processes every day. We call this latest wave of rapid development Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. While modernization presents numerous opportunities for growth and process enhancement, experts are increasingly aware of their need for heightened security in an increasingly insecure digital landscape. Manufacturing and other industries are taking a closer look at cloud-based ERP and unified systems to address vulnerabilities.
When it comes to directing the future of a company, CEOs have to understand the necessity and difficulty in choosing the right ERP solution for their business. Not only does the solution need to fit the industry, but it must be one that a workforce can adapt readily to avoid any lull in services being delivered to customers.
The journey is an exhaustive one and the more preparation that can be put in place prior to an implementation, the more likely your success. To help avoid banging your head against the office wall in frustration, here are a few suggestions that will help ensure you make the right decision when it’s time to upgrade to a quality ERP solution.
With the industrial robot population on course to reach 1.7 million by 2020, enterprises the world over are reevaluating how they approach managing a mechanized workforce. To address modern manufacturing operations’ increasing reliance on automation and robotics, the C-suite is preparing to welcome a new designation among its ranks: Chief Robotics Officer.
Addressing An Increasingly Automated Workforce
While the concept may be a new one, a study conducted by Myria Research, a Massachusetts-based research and advisory services business, puts projections of the emerging CRO position in 60% for Fortune 500 executive teams. Beyond that, the Chief Robotics Officer Research Scenario predicts the Robotics & Intelligent Operational Systems (RIOS) technologies market to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025. The figure is tremendous when compared to the firm’s $63 billion market valuation in 2015. However, companies cannot afford to discount the increasing prevalence of RIOS in their own daily operations as well as those of their competitors. The projections include full hardware, software, and services segmentation in the figure, which represents a 30% CAGR to 2020 and 40% from 2020 until 2025.
The common misconception about automation is that in the long term it will cost more jobs than it creates. The fact of the matter is that this is simply not true. Automation, working alongside effective ERP solutions, provides workforces the freedom to become more specialized and efficient. Automation works in tandem with ERP to conserve resources and take the mundane and repetitive tasks out of the picture.
As a result, the human component of businesses can take on more logical, critical thinking-oriented tasks. This adds value to the business by strengthening the quality of care customers receive and nurtures the satisfaction employees receive when they occupy more critical and appreciated roles in their careers.
When the goal is to be agile both on the shop floor and in the marketplace, manufacturers need tools that allow them significant maneuverability. ERP systems have traditionally been the biggest component of operational adaptability when circumstances change behind the scenes. Cloud ERP is one recent example of innovation in Industry 4.0 that has reinvigorated the manufacturing space for enterprises of every size. A survey by Technology Evaluation Centers revealed Epicor ERP ranked as the top solution for growing small and medium businesses.
Easily one of the most mundane and repetitive of tasks, picking and sorting of objects is activity few humans look forward to with great elation. However, the tedious nature of the task is a prime candidate for automation using robotics. Beyond the obvious hardware that it takes for a robot to operate within the confines of a designated task, a less obvious one, machine vision, acts as a critical component of efficient robotic sorting. The technologies involved with machine vision, sensing, and object interaction are already being used by robots with great success on the International Space Station in completing even complex tasks, semi-autonomously.