DHL: top four manufacturing transformations by 2025
As manufacturing and engineering companies react to the current trends, we look at DHL’s top four industry transformations it expects to see by 2025.
With the ways in which manufacturing and engineering companies are producing and operating changing, in terms of product life cycle, customer demand and increased product variety, production processes are needing to become more intelligent.
With technology evolving at an enhanced rate, we are entering into a fourth industrial revolution (industry 4.0). While Manufacturing and engineering may not see the same levels of automation as some industries, the basic principles of intelligent production will become increasingly more prominent.
DHL comments that in the German manufacturing sector, industry 4.0 will drive productivity by 5-8% in the next 10 years, creating 390,000 new jobs and increasing investments by US$269bn. Frost and Sulivan sees more than 50% of participants across industries, expect that design and production processes will be fully digitalised in the next five to 10 years.
While manufacturing and engineering companies are taking important steps towards cleaner and greener manufacturing, DHL predicts a more widespread use of these approaches within the sector by 2025.
The areas in which sustainable manufacturing affects is vast, ranging from green product design, product lifecycle management, eco-efficient processes, fuel efficient machines, fuel efficient vehicles, green purchasing and sustainable organisation culture.
Forward thinking companies within the sector are using renewable energy energy efficiency and sustainable products, as well as establishing cradle-to-cradle concepts.
The industrial production sector alone is responsible for roughly 30% of the world’s energy consumption, most of which is provided by fossil fuels. Until 2030 it is predicted that the renewable energy share could increase from 11% (2010) to at least 15% if new deployment options are discovered it could jump as high as 26%.
For the long-term future, DHL predicts a shift from end-of-pipe solutions toward a focus on product lifecycle and integrated environmental strategies.
New business models
As customers demand more value, core markets become saturated and product margins come under pressure, companies are changing their business models to reflect these challenges.
DHL has seen a shift towards more service-based business models emerge. Currently, service-type activities already make up 30-55% of the manufacturing employment.
The development of such services is often considered less risky and less costly than the development of new products. DHL reports that maintenance can make up 50% of a company’s revenue. Slowly over the next few years business models will shift from B2B to a B2B2C model, whereas traditional manufacturers focused on manufacturing and managing capacity.
New collaboration models
With the constantly changing industry environment, DHL predicts that companies will rethink their relationships along the value chain, leading to more collaboration with suppliers and providers.
Often quoted as the blueprint for the future of the manufacturing industry, the automotive industry is a sector that is showcasing the best practices within this area.
While manufacturing and engineering have started to apply this concept, it is predicted that the industry is still 10 to 15 years behind the automotive industry. The adoption of this approach will be vital in future innovation, with these innovations often being the product of a collaboration between two unrelated companies such as IT and manufacturing.
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Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
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’.