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Digital factories shaping the future of manufacturing despite the challenges, PWC Report

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New technologies are changing the face of manufacturing, from 3D printing, robotics, internet of things and the digital disruption continue to permeate across key sectors, improve efficiencies, enhance productivity, and overall output.

In a webcast titled: The Future of Manufacturing, PWC predicts that technology enabled manufacturing strategies will drive the transition to a flexible and distributed smart factory. As companies implement innovation technology, and look for employees with fundamentally different qualifications. Leading manufacturing are continuously deploying new technologies to digitize production as well as revolutionize the entire supply chain. These include real time data analytics, digitized and flexible production, and predictive technologies among others.

Speaking at the Webcast, PWC Partner, Michael Mugasa while discussing the global trends in the manufacturing sector, outlined some challenges expected to be faced by manufacturers. Among the challenges outlined, are identifying which of the emerging technologies can be game changers.

“As manufacturers adopt new technologies, they should look out for general mistakes that may be overlooked. For instance, new ways to work by building new skills and capabilities, protecting supply chain partners’ sensitive data from unauthorized access,” he adds.

Among other general challenges that PWC expects include entering unchartered territories with often unclear Return on Investment.  By thinking through the journey, Michael suggestion to manufacturers will involve effectively defining problem statements, setting expectations, predicting and accepting for acceptance.

Smart manufacturing entails to some extent incorporating digital transformation and combining strategy and operations with technology aimed at rapidly increasing productivity. According to PWC Report titled 2020: Shaping the future of Manufacturing, 91% of top management surveyed across Europe are/ intend to invest in digital factories. 75% of those surveyed believe that digitization supports customer centricity and will strengthen competitiveness of Europe’s industrial centers.

PWC analyzed over 250 technologies and narrowed down to 8 technologies that will shape the future of smart manufacturing which include; The Internet of things, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented & virtual reality, 3D Printing, drones, robotics, and cybersecurity. From the Webcast, experts predict in an ideal future where smart manufacturing is in full effect, the analysts predict a 15-20% improvement in overall equipment effectiveness by enhancing full visibility and transparency. An almost 50 % reduction in downtime with an expected 15-20% improvement in quality.

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