Technology has become part and parcel of life in the present world. Organizations all over the world are now embracing technology for better productivity as well as increased profitability levels. In today’s world, more than the past years, most companies all over the world are making progress towards transformation of their process of fitting into the demands of this knowledge age. Today technology underpins almost all business processes helping people in workplaces to improve on how they use their critical data. Chief Executive Officers and managers in all organizations seek to access information about business in real time. Such information is what is used to make critical business decisions in relation to logistics. As companies increase in size, more integration of Information Technology systems is needed to ensure ease in manufacturing processes. Technology has created value for manufacturing in the present times in many ways. This has led to increased profitability levels, reduced manufacture and waiting time, and minimized defects and errors during the manufacturing process.
A look into the manufacturing sector presents the fact that indeed technology has made the process of manufacturing easier and making it much easier by the day. The manufacturing sector must be able to carefully look into customer demands regardless of the goods it produces. This can only be made possible through integrating technology into manufacturing. Every organization aims for decreased time of delivery, high quality of products, increased levels of product flexibility as well as reduced profit margins. One of the organizations that have embraced technology into its manufacturing processes is Toyota. As much as other industries have embraced technology, Toyota is one of the countries that stands out in its application of technology throughout its manufacturing processes in its plants all over the world.
With several plants located around the world, Toyota has embraced technology into its manufacturing process improving the quality of their products and improving the working experience of its employees as well. Embracing technology into manufacturing in this organization has transformed the traditional factories from centers that attract costs to profitable centers that reflect progress in business. Technology in manufacturing has strategically increased productivity levels in the company due to optimization of plants and networks of supply. The use of technology in Toyota enables the industry to gather information from customers and other plants in relation to production. The company has invested in highly automated production based on Information Technology. Apart from increasing profitability levels, such production ensures that the factory becomes a more innovative center than the traditional manufacturing centers. Technology in manufacturing has added the value of efficiency in production. The manufacturing process is simulated on computers hence increasing the speed by which a company is able to manufacture goods or offer services. The whole process of manufacturing right from the assembly points to the layout points can easily be defined and virtually in a 3D environment. With such, a company such as Toyota enjoys utmost efficiency in production in highly reduced time and costs. This facilitates early entry into the market ensuring customer satisfaction and utmost competitiveness for the company.
Digital manufacturing has led to production excellence in the present world. Simulation of the plant layouts and all the production processes has ensured that high quality of products is maintained in industries. Technology for manufacturing has offered solutions for Toyota such as “Design for servicing” and ‘Design for Manufacturing”. Such solutions have helped the company to ensure optimum flow of work throughout and improve the company output. These solutions could also be used to come up with designs and plans for new plants or changes on the existing plant with the aim of enhancing plant production capacity. The use of technology in manufacturing gives an option for customization of workflows within a company.
As I went through the benefits that technology has brought to manufacturing, I came across a benefit of dealing with the “manufacturability concerns”, which are also referred to as “ergonomic constraints”. These concerns are difficult to manage once a plant has been established as well as the processes. Such concerns can be handled earlier through the use of technology. Validation done during the planning stage of plant establishment will help in saving the cost and time taken during plant rectification. Due to the availability of a 3D environment, it is easy for a company to identify concerns and do an evaluation on the designs beforehand. Technology comes in handy in ensuring that companies establish plants when they are completely sure of its workability.
Apart from using technology to validate the plant and processes, companies are also able to plan for their resources and allocate them rightfully. Companies are also able to maximize the available space for their plant. The presence of human ergonomic simulation in a company such as Toyota enables the company to reduce the amount of physical stress on the workers at the shop floor. Additionally, such simulations reduce the number of accidents and hazards in the company. Companies are able to come up with plants that are safe, highly efficient and worker friendly. Technology in manufacturing helps companies to control the quality of products. Defects and errors can be traced through the manufacturing program to attain high levels of production accuracy. Such benefits help managers to attain their management goals, which include accuracy, defect free products and high production levels. Technology has also made it possible for companies to carry out “what if” assessments for validation to ensure optimum solutions at minimum costs.
As I carried out an investigation on manufacturers all over the world and was impressed by the common attribute they have: obsession with making life easier in their work places. I also realized that cloud-based manufacturing had been implemented in several companies. Applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) have been adopted in most manufacturing companies all over the world due to an increased pressure to offer accurate products for the market. “Smart factories” in the world today have embraced the use of cloud computing to improve on manufacturing speed and increase their competitive force.
Technology has increased value in manufacturing by offering wide knowledge and intelligence. This is evident in the use of business intelligence (BI) and analytics. The use of cloud-based technology and big data to acquire knowledge has aided the companies in better decision making strategies. Technology has ensured that there is acceleration in the development of new products to meet market demands and reduce waiting periods for customers. Design cycles have also been made shorter due to the use of simulations.
In conclusion, technology is a vital element in the manufacturing industry today. The aspect of technology use in manufacturing has increased its value in many different ways. First, use of technology has increased the company productivity and productivity levels. Technology has made it possible for information to be acquired by manufacturers all over the world who are able to identify the market trends and make the right decisions. Use of technology in the manufacturing industries has benefited industries by bringing down the number of errors caused during manufacture as well as a reduction on risks and accidents. Cloud based technology is one of the many technological advancements that have been embraced by the manufacturers with an aim of increasing accuracy in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing processes are also carried out in a 3D environment that makes it easy to monitor the progress of different processes of manufacture. In addition, use of simulation has worked well in reducing human effort and increasing productivity levels in the manufacturing companies.
Below is a diagram that represents a visual model of smart factory that a manager may use
Figure 1. Diagram of a Smart Factory
As indicated in the diagram, the Smart Factory will have several components. This include a smart phone, mobile phone, a personal computer, control centre, the office, and home. This indicates that the factory processes will still move on regardless of where an individual is physically. For instance, one can still get notifications from the factory through his phone while at home. The control centre works ensures that there is a flow of information. There is also a surveillance that monitors the flow of work as well as information within and outside the company. Finally, action will always be taken after one receives notifications from his gadget.