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The manufacturing industry has a new partner – and it’s AI. According to research from Deloitte, 93% of companies believe AI will be a pivotal technology to drive both growth and innovation in the manufacturing industry. The technology is innovating quickly and there are already endless use cases proving its benefit. From its ability to analyze large amounts of data quickly to studying a whole system of assets to improve operations – we’re seeing industrial copilots come to life right in front of our eyes.

While AI is not a new technology, we’re constantly seeing improvements in the way it works and new, creative ways that all industries are beginning to leverage it. There are notable differences between previous technology capabilities and the technology we work with now. Advancements in generative AI and machine learning now focus on completing complex problem-solving, decision-making and even creative tasks – whereas previous technology was only capable of automating simple tasks. We’re in the midst of admirable evolution, and the ability to leverage AI for strategic augmentation is showing the transformative power that AI can bring to the workplace today.

The question now is: How can the manufacturing industry leverage AI as a copilot and work to create efficiencies we have never seen before? The answer isn’t as complicated as one may think – and understanding the immense potential that AI can bring is a great starting point. 

Industrial AI’s Benefits 

There’s an interesting dynamic between humans and AI – one that can be extremely scalable. Not only is it beneficial for completing tasks more efficiently, but also for monitoring machine health, improving sustainability efforts, inventory management and so much more. These AI copilots will not take jobs away from humans, but will help to increase productivity and encourage efficiency. The inclusion of generative AI is enhancing this partnership with its ability to capture and analyze intelligence assets like business reports, meeting transcripts, etc., ensuring the right information is available to the user at any point in time. Generative AI is bringing the “human touch” that is needed by using things like data and natural language to understand the problem and help provide a solution that the user will understand – essentially, acting as a technology-based co-worker. 

These copilots that are built on multiple AI systems and generative AI interfaces can use real-time signals from production processes and other data like operating procedures to empower improved resolution of issues, production plans, quicker machine repairs and even a guide on how to repair it. With the significant skills shortage in the manufacturing industry, AI will be crucial for the continued growth of the industry. 

What Manufacturers Should Know 

Manufacturers should focus on leveraging AI to solve three key problems: Classification, optimization and predictive and generative abilities. AI can help to understand the root cause of the problem, which is important to know when focusing on the next step – thinking through the most effective solution. Additionally, AI’s ability to understand the entire system and then generate something new based on existing knowledge is where the technology helps to connect all the pieces, instead of focusing on just one.

However, not all organizations have access to the technical expertise needed to provide this level of innovation. This is where third party solution providers come in. Working with vendors has shown to be instrumental in companies achieving the utmost success with AI solutions. 

Industry 5.0 with AI

Now is the perfect time for manufacturers to embrace Industry 5.0 – starting with understanding how AI copilots can improve operations and beyond, adding the needed “human touch” that is imperative to any Industry 5.0 initiative.

When searching for the right AI solution, asking the hard questions is key. To ensure the solution is right for the problem at hand, ask about proven value for similar challenges, take time to understand the quality of the data and insights generated, and how it’s all measured – but also the potential risks.

Knowledge is an extremely important aspect when it comes to working with these innovative technologies – even though it may seem too complex to understand, it’s not, when working with the right providers.