What is Smart Manufacturing?

Smart Manufacturing has become a topic of conversation among manufacturing experts, strategists and thought leaders. Despite its recent coverage in the media, however, many aren’t sure what it entails or even how it’s relevant to their business.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) states that Smart Manufacturing are “fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time to meet changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network, and in customer needs.”

A simpler definition of Smart Manufacturing would be applications, software, networks, and machines that gather, report, and act on real-time data.

Whatever way you define it, though, it is increasingly being adopted by companies both big and small to their benefit.

What are the Benefits of Smart Manufacturing?

Some of the benefits of Smart Manufacturing are obvious: shorter turn-around time on products, shorter down-time for broken machines, and quicker and more agile supply chain management. There are others, though, that are evident, such as producing higher quality products, improved productivity, increased energy efficiency, reduced costs, and increased safety. Companies who adopt this technology have seen growth in many areas.

Does Smart Manufacturing Mean the End of Human Jobs?

Manufacturing has long depended on its human workforce to design, produce, and ship products. So, a discussion of the growth due to Smart Manufacturing would not be complete without an analysis of its impact on human jobs. 

Despite its appearance as a “hands-off” process, Smart Manufacturing doesn’t have to be. Many of the processes may be automated, but they may still require human analysis and intervention to improve processes. In addition, there are some jobs which a machine is just not suited to do. This means that not only can you use Smart Marketing to boost productivity, but you can also use it to create more human jobs to help those Smart Marketing processes become even more efficient.