The manufacturing industry has come a long way. It’s no longer the same as it was ten years ago. As technology has become increasingly advanced, searching and recruiting qualified employees to work in a manufacturing setting has become more challenging than ever. Moreover, the uncertainty brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and changing government regulations have made planning for the future even more difficult. But despite these challenges, there are ways that manufacturers can grow their business and thrive during these challenging times.

Here’s how to expand and grow your manufacturing business.

Automation 

Data-driven operations and automation are the basis for warehouse efficiency these days. The e-commerce industry is thriving, and competition in manufacturing has become very stringent. These have triggered logistics and manufacturing companies to consider integrating automation technology. 

Automation in manufacturing is about identifying tasks that are repetitive and automating them. Having the right technology and the availability of automation and control specialists have made more and more companies turn to automation, from storage to sorting and distribution. A modern warehouse has plenty of opportunities for automation, which can result in increased efficiency, reduced cost, and a lesser chance of human errors. Automation has helped manufacturing businesses keep up with the increasing volumes and demand. For a manufacturing business to compete, it has to be efficient. Some of the key aspects of running a manufacturing operation include product accuracy, speed, and volume. All these are achievable through automation. 

The idea of automating a manufacturing business goes far beyond RFID tags and robotics. Automation systems offer managers and executives ample opportunities to address different business needs and resolve unique problems while shaping their competitive edge. Warehouse management software refers to a set of tools that can be seamlessly integrated into manufacturing operations. These tools provide managers with better control and visibility and automate supply chain processes, from distribution to shipping. 

Automation takes many forms. These include robots and machines that help workers in processes related to inventory, from when the product arrives at the warehouse until it leaves. Automating a business can help increase accuracy and productivity, minimize labor costs, and improve safety. But automating does not mean robots will be taking over jobs from humans. Instead, companies are merely taking advantage of the machine’s accuracy to help make manufacturing tasks safer and more efficient.

Use of Robotics 

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics have become increasingly sophisticated these days, there are now many opportunities for automating a manufacturing industry. Both AI and robotics promise to transform the manufacturing landscape by offering an array of benefits for employees, business owners, customers, and the economy. But for robotics to be effective, quality software engineering recruitment is required to program and maintain the robots.

Many benefits can come with employing robotic automation in manufacturing. First, it helps companies achieve a higher level of consistency and accuracy. Human error is often the number one challenge that manufacturing companies face. If human workers will be working on a production line, there’s a certain margin of error that one can expect. But with robotic systems, there’s no need for this since these systems are accurate and consistent in their output. Error and subsequent waste can be significantly reduced, leading to increased efficiency and productivity in the production line.   

Humans have to take breaks between work and work in shifts. But robots do not need to go on breaks. These machines can be programmed to work continuously. Thus, production can continue round the clock, leading to a boost in productivity. For instance, the automotive industry has experienced a 50% increase in productivity through robotic process automation.

3D printing is a prime example of robotic interfaces making manufacturing a lot easier for businesses. 3D printing is getting better all the time, with faster printing speeds and a wider array of materials. They are expensive though and running them long-term can cost a lot of money. There are many businesses out there operating a 3D printing service that you can look to for short-term or even long-term help. It’s another example of robotic usage helping humans stay away from potentially dangerous component creation. Again, the 3D printing element allows humans to focus on other elements of manufacturing, like growing the business in marketing and sales.

Working in a manufacturing setting can be risky for humans, where health and safety challenges are a serious concern for both employees and employers. One of the benefits of using robotics in manufacturing is the chance to protect human workers from harm. Some workers may be worried that robots will take away some of their jobs, but the opposite is true. By automating laborious and manual tasks, human workers can take up more meaningful roles in the company. These are roles where their abilities and skills can be used and developed. And as you know, the development of new skills can lead to better career progression and increased salary.

Adapt to Electrification 

As more and more consumers are opting for environmentally-friendly purchases and legislation aims to end the sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 in the UK, the sales of hybrid and electric cars are on the rise. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the growth of the electric vehicle industry, which has seen an increase of more than 40% in global sales compared to the previous years due to various factors, including the policies aimed at targeting lowered emissions, purchase incentives across Europe, and decreasing prices on batteries. 

While electric vehicles offer significant benefits to the environment and consumers, the predicted increase in sales can present several challenges for the automotive industry. The shift from combustion engines to zero-emission electric vehicles means that the entire manufacturing process will most likely change, and this could affect the companies currently manufacturing automotive vehicles, including their staff. 

The most significant change that automotive manufacturers are faced with as the demands shift to electric is that the components and parts they produce from ICE vehicles will not be required anymore. Electric cars are less complicated to manufacture and will only need fewer parts. This means that the vehicle’s components, such as transmissions and exhausts, will be left unusable in favor of other more critical components like electric motors and batteries.

Many components from gasoline cars are currently being manufactured “in-house”. And once these vehicles become phased out in favor of electric cars, manufacturers will end up with a redundant production process. To combat the fallout of such loss, many manufacturing companies are shifting their focus to producing electronic components or laying the groundwork for this change as soon as they start to manufacture more electric vehicles than gasoline-powered ones.