Technologies may be born in a particular industry, but eventually, through diffusion, they end up crossing over into different sectors. For example, robotic process automation is finding its way into scheduling reporting in the manufacturing space and will soon have cognitive learning overseeing it — something that, to date, has primarily been seen in financial services.
Leaders are finding that by embracing new technology, they may gain opportunities not just to catch up with the leaders in manufacturing efficiency but potentially to surpass them.
To give an example, we worked with a coal mining company whose CEO was mindful that they needed to research and explore the latest advanced technologies. Working together, in a highly consultative and collaborative approach, we touched every level of the organization and identified eight use cases around pain points that could benefit from emerging technology — from creating a digital twin of the end-to-end value chain process to using augmented reality to visualize the surface of the material being worked on. The result? The investment in the pilot was repaid in less than 10 months and achieved an 8% unit cost reduction.
It’s easy to get excited about new technologies — especially those in the field of blockchain, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. That’s where vision and imagination come into effect, in places such as an EY wavespace environment, where the art of the possible truly is on display.
But as a reminder, it’s important to focus on the basics first — to look at the pain points of your enterprise, develop use cases that take advantage of emerging technologies and then go to proof-of-concept. It’s important to crawl, then walk, then run — all part of a compelling vision of where you want to take your manufacturing operation next.