The challenges and benefits of technology in manufacturing

Technology is rapidly entering all sectors of manufacturing. With the Internet of Things (IoT), employees are able to record, share, access and analyze critical data in real-time, whether they’re in the office, at the factory, or off-site. With drones, 3D printers, advanced software, and more, manufacturing organizations can streamline productivity from project planning to completion.

While purchasing these new technologies and training employees to use them can be costly, modern devices and services create many benefits for manufacturing.

Potential Challenges

Some employees may be resistant to technologies that lead to increased connectivity in the workplace due to privacy concerns. This can be especially true if a business chooses to implement controversial technology. For example, a vending machine company in Wisconsin is offering to implant microchips into the hands of its employees. These Radio Frequency ID (RFID) chips enable workers to open doors, pay for purchases, and access resources with ease. In order to have an efficient, technology-driven workplace, you have to invest in finding the right solutions for your team and goals.

Top 4 Benefits

One big benefit of technology in manufacturing is increased productivity. Some businesses leverage 3–D printers to create quick mockups and blueprints at a more affordable cost. Other businesses provide smartphones and tablets to help employees access data and communicate faster through cloud services. When it comes to tracking productivity, supervisors and managers can use IoT-connected devices to collect data on how much time employees spend on different tasks. IoT-connected tools can also be used to trouble-shoot machines and trace errors back to the source, increasing accountability and reliability.

For jobs that come with risk of physical harm, wearables like smartwatches and smart safety vests can monitor movement and use GPS to identify an employee’s location in case of an emergency. For worksites that need added security, drones can survey production and keep an eye out for possible safety hazards or signs of tampering.

In addition to aiding existing employees, technology helps manufacturers hire the best candidates. There are many

software programs and web services that can weed through resumes and match applicants to job postings. Using services like these can cut down time wasted on applicants who aren’t qualified.

Lastly, making use of modern technology in manufacturing can be good for the environment. Advances in renewable energy coupled with the improved ability to track carbon output through IoT-connected devices can help businesses be more aware of their emissions during production. Predictive data tracking through devices and software can also help organizations reduce waste and maintain sustainable efforts.

Jessica Swarner

Author: Jessica Swarner

Jessica is a recent graduate of ASU where she studied political science and journalism. She is currently a researcher at a local cybersecurity company. Her hobbies include reading up on hacker forums on Tor and giving unsolicited podcast recommendations.

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