The biggest challenges of manufacturers in 2020

In the last few months, we have attended several manufacturing-focused events, from which we returned with numerous insights and lessons about the industry. In this blog post, we would like to discuss some of the biggest challenges that came up repeatedly across countless conversations.

So what does the future of manufacturing look like? How augmented reality can help to take the industry to the next level? And why going completely digital is the way forward?

1. The role of augmented reality

Augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. It can help to cut down on production and maintenance time, increase the productivity of workers, prevent errors, as well as be used for training. One of the ways manufacturers can already utilize AR is to add questions to photos during inspections. This helps to highlight and point out issues when inspecting a piece of equipment. Let’s take a packaging machine as an example. If one of the questions on the checklist is whether it has some rusted parts, the inspector can take a photo of the equipment, and move the question tag over the part that is rusted.

However, augmented reality is much more than adding questions to photos and images. It can also cover instructions and provide further details. Looking at a piece of equipment through AR can show relevant data about a machine – for example, its current temperature or performance. In the video below, you can see how car mechanics can perform regular vehicle service checks using Resco Inspections on HoloLens:

2. Going digital for automated information flow

Customers are increasingly looking for digital solutions instead of the classic pen & paper and other antiquated digital tools – such as endless Excel spreadsheets shared via emails. Many manufacturers still use the latter; however, they are not satisfied. Switching to advanced digital solutions brings a number of key benefits.

Even those still using Excel to keep track of their operations, find it increasingly demanding to process and aggregate the data to generate relevant insights. Having data within an advanced digital solution makes sense: After all, there’s not much use for an answer in an Excel safety checklist indicating a problem, if no one gets notified about it.

Data automatically flowing into a digital system also results in increased efficiency, innovation, and standardization. It makes the analysis of data easier and can help companies see where they are performing the best. This is especially true for manufacturers who have multiple locations with different performance levels.

3. The future of manufacturing: wearables?

Manufacturers show great interest in wearable devices, as it enables them to have free hands while working. These devices can shorten the time of employee training, they can provide site, process, and safety monitoring, provide handy insights to the wearers, and thus increase overall productivity.

Using wearables can also solve one of the biggest pain-points in manufacturing: inefficiency with data collection and entry. When performing a maintenance process, data needs to be entered into the system. This can be done after the process is completed or in between; however, both are inefficient as they mean a lot of additional time. A wearable device can significantly cut down on this time as it allows the workers to enter data while they are performing the job.

Worker using smartwatch in a warehouse

4. The best interface is no interface

Another topic of interest among manufacturers is NoUI (Non-Visual User Interface). Also referred to as Zero UI, it’s a shift from graphical to voice-controlled user interfaces, and going even further, from screens to AI.

NoUI is all about making interactions more natural and effortless. The basic concept is to use the most common means of communication for people, which are voice, facial expressions, and gestures. NoUI aims to save valuable time and make the lives of its users even easier.

5. Manufacturers = solution providers

A big change in the industry is that manufacturers don’t see themselves as mere commodity makers anymore. They see themselves as solution providers. A crucial question they ask now is: How are our products performing with the client?  

Now their process doesn’t stop with delivering the goods to the customers. They want to know what happens after. They want to know whether clients are satisfied with the product and whether it performs its function well. They keep an eye on the product’s entire lifecycle. They are looking at their role more holistically, seeking to understand what service or job each product provides and where they can improve on it.

Streamline manufacturing processes with Resco Inspections

Digitize your paper forms easily, with little to no coding skills. You can take advantage of features such as tagged image, QR code scanning, image recognition, voice control, multimedia attachments, and much more.

To further explore the possibilities of Resco Inspections, visit the official product website or start your free Resco Inspections trial here.