Nov 30, 2020

BDO insight predict a sharp recovery for UK Manufacturing

BDO
Manufacturing
UK
covid-19
Georgia Wilson
2 min
UK Manufacturing
Latest BDO insights predicts a sharp recovery for the UK manufacturing industry following the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines...

In a recent study conducted by accountant and business advisory firm - BDO - the company reported that 95% of manufacturers surveyed predicted that their business would fully recover within a year of a vaccine for COVID-19 being available, with the other 5% believing the recovery to take between 1-3 years.

Surveying 111 mid market manufacturers, the company also found that 47% believed that news of a vaccine would prompt them to change their business plans. In addition to this 53% reported that they felt optimistic about the UK’s economic recovery compared to three months ago. With this optimism, 39% of UK manufacturers plan to invest in technology to increase businesses efficiency in the next six months. 

However, while there is optimism, manufacturers are also cautious about the challenges for 2021, such as paying back business loans (19%), further lockdown (17%), market contraction (15), and that the tiered lockdown system will widen regional economic divide (93%). 

“The news that vaccine trials have proved effective has given a much needed boost to the manufacturing sector. While this is obviously welcome news, we’re not out of the woods yet. The sad reality is that things are likely to get worse before they get better,” commented Tom Lawton, National Head of Manufacturing, BDO.

While Brexit is an ongoing challenge, three quarters stated that they had a strategy in place for the transition. 

“The transition into the new trading arrangements with the EU at the end of this year, and the ending of the furlough scheme in the early part of next year will both prove challenging and will test the resilience of many manufacturers. The sobering comments made by the Chancellor in the recent spending review also indicate the general economic challenges to be faced by UK manufacturing over at least the short to medium term. That said, it is very encouraging to see so many manufacturers looking to the future and investing in new technology to improve productivity and competitiveness. This will be vital for long term sustainability and growth,” added Lawton.

For more information on manufacturing topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Manufacturing Global.

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Jun 16, 2021

Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

Fluentai
BSH
AI
Technology
2 min
Fluent.ai and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics

Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines. 

 

According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.

 

What Sets Fluent.ai Apart? 

After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.  

 

  • Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions. 
  • Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately. 
  • Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations. 

 

How Voice Automation Works

Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production. 

 

‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’. 

 

Future Global Adoption 

In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier. 

 

Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’. 

 

 

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