The industrial sector has undergone major transformations in recent years. The increase in competitiveness and the advancement of technology force companies to seek more and more efficiency in their operations. Supported by the concept of Lean Manufacturing, the idea is that the optimization of industrial processes is the way out to grow and stand out from competitors.
It is this scenario that allows the development of Industry 4.0, where technology plays a leading role in the digitization and integration of all processes. Nowadays, it is inevitable to talk about optimization in the industry without going into the field of technology. After all, we have reached a point where a machine can perform many activities better and faster than a human being. And doing it better and in less time is precisely the focus of industrial process optimization.
Technology can be applied in different ways and in different sectors. The fourth industrial revolution is supported by pillars such as the Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cloud Computing, etc. And each of these technologies contributes to the optimization of processes in different areas.
That’s why Industry 4.0 also means integration between different sectors of the company. After all, digitalization will happen from the purchase of raw materials to after-sales. To show how technology contributes to the optimization of processes, we have selected some aspects in which it can act:
Monitoring of employees
Do you know exactly what is the movement of employees during their workday? Through the Internet of Things, this is now possible: sensors are spread across the plant, signal-emitting beacons are installed on employee badges and the manager has all the data in the palm of his hand.
But what does this have to do with process optimization? The analysis of this data can generate several insights. They help the manager to understand how to optimize routes, if employees are well allocated, how much time they spend in each process, among other information.
Through this analysis, it is possible to create new guidelines, ascertain the need for hiring (or layoffs) and reallocate people to other areas in order to make better use of the human resources available.
One of the simplest ways to optimize processes is through organization. Having documented everything that happens within the industry is essential to find bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement.
In this sense, ERP software can be an interesting alternative for companies looking to organize their processes. Through it, data from different sectors of the business are integrated, which gives the manager greater control over the operation.
In addition, the same logic of the indoor geolocation systems from the previous item can be used to monitor equipment in the plant. Thus, it is possible to reduce expenses with leased machines, quickly locate lost equipment and optimize the route of forklifts and other mobile equipment.
Advanced Process Control
Every industrial process is driven by a series of variables. Managing all these variables to find the optimal point of the operation is one of the biggest challenges inside the factory. In this sense, technology can be a great ally. Advanced process control is a predictive technique, that is, a system capable of predicting process variables and making adjustments automatically.
Using complex mathematical models and artificial intelligence techniques, the manager has at hand a powerful system where the operator does not need to put only the set point (initial definitions of variables), but he adjusts the operating limits and the system with its algorithms understands how reach those settings.
It is a technology linked to robust hardware, since a large computational load is required for mathematical processing. But, as we live in a period of growth in processing power, this is a technology that will be more and more widespread.
Professionals responsible for inventory management need to be able to forecast demand, monitor the amount of raw material available and pay attention to the warehouse’s capacity to receive all these goods.
This task can be done manually, with people checking each of these steps. However, this will certainly require a high number of hours worked, which means an increase in the cost of the operation.
Technology once again helps to optimize this process. Today, solutions such as RFID or geolocation sensors help to know exactly what the stock is and where each item is. This information can be compared to the number recorded in the management software to understand the accuracy of the inventory, which is one of the main logistics performance indicators, for example
With an increasing market demand, delivering products without defects is an obligation of any business. Technology makes this job easier in different ways. For example, today there are sensors that can identify if a machine needs maintenance or started operating at the wrong temperature, which would harm the final product. A system that organizes inspections and audits and makes periodic reviews of products also helps in this process.
Quality control can also be seen from the perspective of each stage of production. That is, how each process is being carried out. In this case, once again it is possible to seek optimization through ERP software and staff monitoring sensors.
Do you understand how technology is essential for the optimization of industrial processes? Discover Novidá’s solution and see how we can help you!