Toyota partners with Gordon Institute of Business Science to offer Africa's first Manufacturing MBA
Automotive giant, Toyota SA, has partnered with the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Pretoria, South Africa, to offer Africa’s first manufacturing-focused Masters in Business Administration.
Toyota and the Gordon Institute have stated the creation of the MBA is intended to create growth in the manufacturing sector, which is a key driver of economic development in the region.
The course, according to the Gordon Institute’s executive director, Justin Barnes, will not be automotive specific, despite its strong connection to the Japanese car maker. Instead the MBA will “address manufacturing in general”. Initially, annual intake for the course will be limited to 40 students per year, according to Gordon Institute dean of students Nicola Kleyn.
Business Live reports Kleyn said "her school was wholly responsible for student selection and teaching. Programmes, taught by Gibs faulty, would include both online tuition and 10-day block-releases at the institute.”
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Kleyn also stated in a press release that, while “much of the MBA’s content would be general business administration… elective subjects, research, dissertations and overseas trips would concentrate on manufacturing.”
According to a report by Business Live, the program will be made available to students in 2019. Former Toyota South Africa CEO Johan van Zyl, and the current president of Toyota Europe, said: “The creation of a deep manufacturing culture has contributed to the development of Asian economies such as Japan, Thailand and Korea. I believe we need to start building a similarly deep culture of manufacturing in South Africa.”
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’.