Is AI Changing the Face of Operations Management?

Today’s rapidly changing and evolving technology is bringing about massive transformations in every field, and manufacturing is certainly no exception. Once a blue-collared, crude work environment dominated by manual processes, today it has become the center of innovation and machine intelligence. At the center of unlocking value and ensuring that processes are optimized in this field, are artificial intelligence techniques.

With industries becoming increasingly competitive, cost pressures are on the rise – particularly in heavy industries such as power, chemical and thermal, which tend to have longer gestation times and long-term return on investment, and are currently facing the brunt of it – not only from within the industry, but also from a wide range of fast-paced external factors. For example, labor is now much harder to get, compared to in the past where it was more readily and cheaply available.

As a result, we have seen robots and automation stepping in – for many, this has been a far better alternative to uprooting manufacturing facilities to lower cost locations or cutting back in other ways. And, manufacturing trends are also rapidly changing with made-to-order taking center stage. At the same time, lean manufacturing calls for a more real-time operations environment and lesser inventories. In order to adapt and be able to better embrace the shifting face of the industry, manufacturers have to become smarter and better by using artificial intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence, also known as machine learning, is an approach that uses massive data sets in order to train machines to perform tasks, typically in a semi-supervised fashion. This applies to the entire life cycle of manufacturing a product, from problem identification to communication and finally, resolution. When it comes to streamlining most necessary yet repetitive manufacturing tasks such as scheduling and rescheduling, data tracking and planning, automation has become absolutely crucial.

Why is AI Important?
Industries which are implementing AI applications, such as manufacturing, are going to become increasingly more diverse as they gain more power with the ability to analyze data across a wide range of functionalities. Other industries are finding increasing ways to implement AI in order to improve operations management, including high-class customer relationship management, fraud detection and more, which helps them to obtain an advantage over competitors.

Today, AI helps with finding solutions to a wide range of complex business issues in a very human- like fashion. AI works by adopting characteristics that resemble human intelligence and implementing them in a computer-friendly fashion, as algorithms.

Much like PCs in the early 80’s or the internet in the early 90’s, artificial intelligence is still a curiosity today for many business leaders. Yet, it has become one of the most trending technological terms in today’s business world.

Applications for AI:
Artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning are being applied for a wide range of intelligent implementations, including robots, smart cars, consumer electronics and more. It’s no surprise that artificial intelligence is becoming a key subject area for many operations management degrees at institutions like Kettering University Online. There are many complex business processes that can be automated using artificial intelligence. Work hours can be reduced significantly, and human employees can be utilized in far more creative aspect aspects of the business, such as innovating, brainstorming and researching. Today, there is a wide range of AI apps and chat bot software programs that help businesses to reduce their workflow by allowing business leaders to focus more on business growth and expansion and less on common functions.

In manufacturing, predictive analysis of various data points is used to pre-empt anomalies in operations and functions. This can go a long way when it comes to bringing aberrations to notice and as a result, averting potential catastrophes. These AI systems must be instilled for machine, material and equipment updates, while also extending to the systems that they are interacting with, such as supply procurement and customer orders. Automating these routine decisions will free up personal bandwidth for the people who run and work in a business, allowing employees to focus on more value-adding tasks, and allowing units to continue functioning efficiently with smaller teams.

AI in Market and Customer Insights:
Artificial intelligence can play a huge role when it comes to analyzing market data and your customers. Predictive analysis can be applied to data assembled from the system and web matrix and social media in order to build a better, more enhanced product. These insights allow businesses to take the customer experience to the next level.

For start-ups, artificial intelligence can play an incredible role. It allows start-ups to explore opportunities to work on various thought processes and innovate new solutions for business growth and expansion.

In addition, AI systems can also optimize marketing campaigns and strategies, bringing down marketing costs and expenditure by providing the most effective marketing tools for the business. In addition, it can be used to eliminate any unlikely customers from potential customer lists, enabling you to focus marketing efforts where they matter the most.

Process Automation:
Over the past few decades, automation has been frequently rising in the world of technology, and various tools for automation are being developed and innovated, helping to make business processes more agile. The first ever automation tools were home appliances that you probably would struggle to live without today, like ovens and washing machines, and later down the line, the invention of industrial robots came about. Presently, there are many robots now working alongside humans in various different workplaces and industries.

With the astonishing rise of AI, industry leaders are predicting that a new era of automation is now emerging. Artificial intelligence today is quickly automating a wide range of routine cognitive processes and algorithms are playing a crucial role in various industries; not just manufacturing but also retail, hospitality, finance and more. Not only can these machines and algorithms perform well, but they can do it for twenty-four hours without needing to take a break.

Today, artificial intelligence is changing the face of operations management – not just in manufacturing, but in several industries.

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