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Capgemini: Smart factories to drive manufacturing efficiency

May 16
Tags: Capgemini
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Capgemini: Smart factories to drive manufacturing...

Consultants working with manufacturing businesses are likely to see smart factories having a big impact on the industry over the coming years.

That's according to a recent report from the Digital Transformation Institute at Capgemini, which reveals that manufacturers expect investments in smart factories to drive a 27 per cent increase in efficiency over the next five years.

This could deliver $500 billion (£388 billion) in annual added value to the global economy.

Smart factories use technological innovations such as the Internet of Things, big data analytics, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence to achieve benefits like higher productivity, enhanced quality and greater flexibility.

Examples of how this works in action include collaborative robots, machines that are able to send alerts when they need maintenance and workers using augmented reality tools such as helmets, projections and tablets.

Capgemini's research suggested that, by 2022, manufacturers expect 21 per cent of their plants to be smart factories. This trend will be driven by developments in sectors such as aerospace, defence, industrial manufacturing and automotive.

Lower operating costs are among the potential benefits of these developments for businesses. The report estimates that the average auto manufacturer could improve its operating margin by 36 per cent as a result of improved logistics and material costs, more effective equipment and better production quality.

Jean-Pierre Petit, global head of digital manufacturing at Capgemini, said: "This study makes it clear that we are now in the digital industrial revolution. The impact on overall efficiency will be profound.

"The next few years will be critical as manufacturers step up their digital capabilities and accelerate their digital outcomes to maximise company benefits."

One of the potential consequences of the global shift to smart factories is a change in skills demand and development. More than half (54 per cent) of the businesses surveyed were providing digital skills training to their employees, rather than looking to replace people through automation.

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Image: chombosan via iStock

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