Published Oct 26, 2023 ⦁ 6 min read

Production AI: Unleash Efficiency With Automated Workflows

Introduction to Production AI: Streamlining Workflows With Automation

Production AI offers immense potential to boost efficiency in manufacturing and operations. Intelligent automation can optimize workflows, reduce costs by 30-50%, and enable predictive maintenance to slash downtime by up to 75%. This article explores key use cases and real-world examples of production AI delivering tremendous value. For example, Covariant.ai's AI-powered robots increased picking speed by 150% for an e-commerce warehouse. We'll cover leading production AI platforms like Covariant and highlight how they drive game-changing productivity gains. By implementing production AI, companies can unlock substantial throughput and quality improvements to gain a competitive edge.

Challenges in Traditional Production Workflows

Many manual and legacy processes create bottlenecks that hinder productivity. Lack of flexibility and agility makes it hard to adapt to changing market conditions. Reliance on tribal knowledge and inconsistent training lower quality and throughput. Downtime from unpredictable failures and maintenance issues disrupts operations, costing up to $22,000 per hour according to Deloitte. Difficulty capturing data provides limited visibility for optimization.

Manual Assembly Processes

Tedious, repetitive tasks lead to fatigue and human error that drive up costs. Each operator works at their own pace, leading to inconsistencies. New operators require over 120 hours of training before reaching full productivity according to McKinsey research. Adaptations to new products or workflows incur high changeover costs. Minimal data capture during manual work misses optimization opportunities.

Equipment Failures and Downtime

Unexpected machine failures cause unplanned downtime that averages 28 hours per year according to IndustryWeek, costing up to $260,000 annually for a mid-sized plant. Lack of preventive maintenance leads to more frequent breakdowns. No system for monitoring equipment health and predicting failures. Long mean time to repair extends period of lost production. Insufficient documentation to facilitate maintenance and repairs.

Inventory and Supply Chain Disruptions

Inefficient forecasting and stocking leads to shortages or excess inventory that ties up 12% of invested capital according to Boston Consulting Group. No visibility into upstream delays or supplier issues. Unexpected demand fluctuations create production bottlenecks. Expediting costs from supply delays and shortages can reach 7% of material costs. Difficulty tracing root causes of disruptions limits prevention.

Production AI Drives Intelligent Workflow Automation

Robots automate repetitive, error-prone manual tasks with high precision and consistency. Machine learning adapts processes in real-time based on data insights. Computer vision and sensor data enable predictive maintenance and reduce downtime by up to 40% per McKinsey. Advance planning optimizes inventory, production scheduling, and fulfillment. End-to-end data provides visibility to identify improvement opportunities.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Automates high-volume, repetitive manual workflows with software bots that work 24/7 without fatigue or inconsistencies. Easy to reconfigure bots for new processes with no-code tools from vendors like Automation Anywhere. Bots free up human workers for higher judgement tasks. Rapid ROI with 20-30% labor cost reduction according to Deloitte.

Computer Vision and Sensors

Machine vision automatically inspects quality and tracks inventory. Sensors on equipment predict failures before shutdowns occur, with companies like Splunk reducing unplanned downtime by over 35%. Early warning of issues minimizes downtime. Feedback loops optimize equipment settings for reliability. Digital twin simulations help test improvements safely.

AI Planning and Scheduling

Optimizes schedules holistically based on changing constraints. Considers production, inventory, orders, supply chain. Rapidly adapts plans to minimize disruptions, improving on-time delivery by up to 20% per McKinsey. Learns patterns over time to sharpen forecasting accuracy by up to 50% according to Kinaxis. Enables 'what-if' scenario modeling for resilience.

Leading Platforms for Production AI

  • Covariant - Intuitive AI robotics for e-commerce order fulfillment and production line picking/packing. Increased speed up to 150% in pilots.
  • Path Robotics - Powerful computer vision for inspection, quality control, predictive maintenance. Reduces defect rates by up to 90%.
  • Laiye - End-to-end intelligent automation from RPA to conversational AI. Saved ~5000 manhours per year for clients.
  • Splice - AI platform for optimizing staff schedules and workflows. Improves labor efficiency by 10-15%.
  • Fero Labs - Automates planning and scheduling for manufacturing operations. Optimized production throughput by up to 30%
  • BrightMachines - Integrates software, sensors, robotics for electronics assembly automation. Reduced unit assembly costs by 50%
  • Osaro - Reinforcement learning robots for flexible assembly and packing. Handles 30-50% more product variants.
  • Kindred - AI robotics for omnichannel fulfillment and retail automation. Doubled picking productivity.
  • Gorilla - Low-code platform for building RPA bots and workflows. ROI in less than 3 months typically.
  • Automation Hero - Process discovery and RPA for document processing. Saved ~2000 hours per year of manual work for a top bank.
  • AI Top Rank - AI launchpad connecting creators with first 100 active users.

Implementing Production AI: Best Practices

Start small with targeted pilots focused on pain points. Engage workers early and co-create solutions together. Leverage easy-to-use low-code/no-code tools where possible. Build on islands of automation incrementally vs. full overhaul. Develop clear measures of success aligned to business goals.

Assess Process Maturity

Document current workflows and metrics thoroughly. Identify constraints, bottlenecks and pain points. Prioritize processes with highest impact and ROI potential. Evaluate data quality and availability. Develop plan considering required integration effort.

Focus on Change Management

Communicate automation benefits clearly to workers. Involve frontline staff in solution design. Provide training on new technologies and processes. Redeploy impacted workers to new high-value roles. Celebrate and promote automation success stories.

Build for Agility and Evolution

Design modular solutions that can scale. Leverage cloud platforms for flexibility. Plan for continuous improvement after deployment. Enable easy reconfiguration as needs change. Collect data and feedback loops to improve over time.

The Future of Intelligent Production

Automation will drive the next productivity leap in manufacturing and operations. AI and robotics can unlock human capabilities for innovation vs. rote work. Companies must embrace digital transformation to remain competitive. With the right strategy and culture, production AI provides immense opportunities. Leading organizations will use AI to achieve new levels of speed, quality and customization.

Conclusion

In summary, production AI delivers transformative efficiency gains through intelligent automation. By implementing solutions like robotic process automation, computer vision, and AI planning, manufacturers can optimize workflows, reduce costs, and enable predictive maintenance. However, a thoughtful approach focused on change management and building for agility is critical. Production AI unlocks immense potential, and companies that leverage it effectively will gain a true competitive advantage.

Interested to explore how AI Top Rank can help connect your production AI solutions with those first 100 active users? Click here to learn more.