Why does automation still require interpersonal interaction?

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Objectively speaking, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) robots has indeed brought improvements to industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and logistics. For example, robots can perform tedious, repetitive tasks while maintaining concentration, and there is no risk of error. They also have access to places that are not easily accessible to humans and can assess and inventory inventory more accurately.

In addition, McKinsey Consulting predicts that by 2030, 800 million jobs may disappear. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand why workers will feel the "future" threat. But this is only an assumption. In fact, in the fields of manufacturing, transportation and logistics, automation will significantly increase production efficiency, but the human role is still indispensable.

Manufacturing's "human touch"

With the advent of Manufacturing 4.0, including the use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing technologies for data collection and exchange, the automation industry has been driven to a better direction.

This new approach will enable managers to gain full visibility into their operations and capture relevant data for each process. These information, which will ultimately be analyzed by humans rather than by machines, will increase production efficiency and thus achieve cost savings. In addition, IIoT technology can also be used to monitor raw material inventory in real time, enabling staff to monitor inventory and replenish stocks in order to continue to increase productivity and avoid problems at a certain point, such as when there is a shortage of paint or automotive parts.

The automotive industry is an important area in manufacturing that uses automation to drive production. Troy Design & Manufacturing (TDM) is a Detroit company specializing in metal stamping and a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. The company uses a zebra technology solution and at its conversion center in Chicago, it needs an automated tracking system to supervise and guide each step of its vehicle remodeling of more than 150 times per day.

TDM partnered with Lowry Solutions, a partner of Zebra Technologies, to implement powerful vehicle tracking capabilities through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Lowry, as a partner of Zebra Technologies, chose Zebra's fixed RFID reader and integrated antenna for its familiarity with the product and TDM's understanding of the industry's interest in zebra technology after extensive investigation and research.

In the end, automated workflows based on RFID technology enabled more accurate visualization and data acquisition, setting a higher standard for equipment efficiency and yield. By deploying vehicle tracking infrastructure, TDM has experienced many advantages of RFID automation. Today, operators are more focused on performing their own tasks, their workflows are simplified, and the amount of paper-based documentation and tracking is reduced.

Looking ahead, TDM hopes to be more innovative, especially with the implementation of RFID technology. Abandoning paper-based manual tracking, more than 90% of the business has now been automated and monitored by the human eye, and ultimately increased productivity.

In short, as emphasized by TDM, automation will drive the refinement of processes at every stage of manufacturing, but when it comes to how best to use data for maximum efficiency, human interaction remains the most fundamental and responsive Decision making is crucial.

"Humanity" in the field of transportation and logistics

There are obvious benefits for automation in the area of ​​transportation and logistics. In warehouses, automation through mobile computers and scanners ensures that employees are provided with up-to-date inventory information. Nowadays, as consumers expect delivery services to be completed within an hour, this is an important and challenging challenge.

The adoption of mobile computers has made inventory inspection more efficient. The latest version can scan bar codes beyond 70 feet, saving staff time and completing other work tasks in the warehouse while also saving energy.

After completing the orderly and smooth operation of the warehouse, the next step is logistics transportation. Automation can create a smarter, more connected distribution network for ground and air cargo and parcel shipments to enable real-time decision making and improved handling operations.

By capturing data such as load strength and trailer capacity, companies can now gain valuable insights to achieve the highest levels of performance and profitability. In this process, human interaction will monitor whether the goods are loaded or not, and human thinking is also needed to decide when the vehicle can start and deliver important cargoes.

Today's new smart planning is crucial because e-commerce and the expectation of instant delivery drive the rise of "economies on demand", which logistics companies must follow. This has also driven the demand for solutions that can further optimize the speed, accuracy and efficiency of the loading and unloading process.

Looking to the future

Automation will bring many exciting new developments to the manufacturing, transportation and logistics industries. With the rise of Industry 4.0, Industry 5.0 is also coming soon to promote more cost-effective operations through IIoT. Technology will advance visualization and data collection to increase productivity.

Naturally, some people worry that humans may be replaced by machines, but automation may also create new jobs. For example, in the field of transportation and logistics, with the increasing application of UAV technology in the delivery of consumer products, it is expected to see the growth of professional drone managers. This does not sound so far away.

In addition, in the warehouse, if the number of unmanned forklifts increases, the original driver is likely to become a supervisory operation. Or better yet, their time can be used to complete more challenging tasks within the company.

Obviously, if automation is to proceed smoothly, humans will still need to respond or interact in some form. In the end, some traditional posts will be reduced, but no doubt new posts will be created and redeployed where they are needed. We are moving toward a new world of artificial intelligence (AI), but we will continue to need the wisdom of human beings. This is the top priority for achieving efficient operations.

Last update: Jun 29, 2018

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