The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated profound changes worldwide, accelerating novel innovation and transformation capabilities. The epidemic has forced businesses around the world to shift towards digital transformation for a competitive edge. It has also created major challenges to those industries, especially manufacturing, that are slow to adapt to new changes, leading them to innovate at a pace they never have before.
To keeping up with changes in the post-pandemic period, automation and robotics technologies could be key to survive the aftermath of COVID-19. While most manufacturing processes like electronics that rely heavily on the manual process, investing in automation for certain operations could alleviate the risk of plant shutdowns and augment productivity. Although machines can outperform humans, but it doesn’t mean they are error-proof; they make fewer mistakes than a human worker does as machines do not get distracted by environmental changes or surrounding work areas. They can perform more work precisely and within a short period of time possible.
In other manufacturing sectors, companies like Tata Steel, Maruti, Mahindra, Ceat Tyres, Toyota, Tata Motors, and VE Commercial Vehicles, among others, are already planning to automate their production lines. As resuming production processes will require human workers where companies have to meet preventative measures to ensure government-imposed liabilities, they are increasingly turning to automation technologies or machines for some processes.
Initially, manufacturing companies may be tentative to take on large capital-intensive projects like automation. But the payoffs of a workforce that doesn’t take breaks and doesn’t get sick will be fascinating to those with strong capital positions, powering efficiency during this time that will cut costs and boost bottom lines.
For instance, China’s automotive industry where 90 percent OEMs have resumed production after the lockdown was lifted and over 80 percent recovered capacity production. Reportedly, some 100 million-factory workers return to the country’s automotive, consumer electronics and smartphone makers, one clear, longer-term impact will be an emphasis on robotics and automation. These technologies have the potential to shrink labor costs and boost productivity and prevent a recurrence of the future plant shutdown.
Along with automation and robotics, the adoption of cloud infrastructures can also assist manufacturers in aggregating data across multiple on-premises systems. As manufacturing companies lag behind in implementing the cloud, the adoption of this technology will help secure sensitive manufacturing information. By leveraging the cloud, manufacturers can get real-time data for remote oversight, aggregated and comparative intelligence across global factories, suppliers, and business units, as well as the ability to integrate technologies into problem solving.
Aggregating data in the cloud can also give the ability to make use of disruptive technologies like AI. This can be effective in preventing unanticipated flaws during development and catch quality shifts in production, without stepping foot in the factory. Moreover, the opportunity for manufacturers to embrace digitization efforts and innovate than ever before can dodge the cessation, enabling industry leaders to focus on new opportunities to create value outside of traditional business operations.