Chatbots in manufacturing – The manufacturing industry is today identified as the “industry 4.0”, meaning that factories’ production system is integrating new technologies with the intent to improve plants production’s quality, people’s working conditions and increase business productivity.
According to BCG – Boston Consulting Group, Industry 4.0 main technologies are:
Autonomous Robots; Big Data; Cloud Computing; Internet of Things (IoT & IIoT); Cybersecurity; System Integration; Simulation; Augmented Reality (e Virtual Reality); Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing).
The “Politecnico di Milano Industry 4.0 observatory” added a further classification of smart technologies, divided into two additional groups:
Information technologies (IT):
- Industrial Internet of Things: based on smart objects and networks
- Industrial Analytics: based on big data;
- Cloud Manufacturing: cloud computing technologies applied in manufacturing
Operational technologies (OT):
- Advanced Automation: robotics and automation technologies
- Advanced Human Machine Interface (HMI): wearables and man/machines interfaces
- Additive Manufacturing: 3D Printing
Chatbot automation in ERP systems allows employees to access storage data or orders’ lists, simply querying the bot with a vocal command. The bot provides data by accessing through multiple platforms and saving up time for users .
Maintenance and quality check
AI-based technologies are crucial for quality check. A natural language based interface will allow managers to rapidly access process insights, simply asking the bot.
Environment conditions, for example, are crucial in manufacturing industries. Temperature’s changes may dramatically affect the production. Chatbots can support maintenance operators and report temperature values and metrics, accessing and synchronizing with other systems, and providing answers in real time.
Recall processes may be complicated as they require the attention of many manufacturing operators that need to check possible contaminations, failures or risks.
If a product is suspected of contamination an alerting system is generated. A chatbot may be useful in handling all information requests generated from the process and may contribute to calm things down, before the situation goes out of control and may affect the corporate brand image.
supply chain and inventory
Supply chain and inventory regular procurement is fundamental in manufacturing, both to assure the right production lines’ supply and to avoid waste of materials . Managers can use chatbots to request additional procurement and check regularly the status of the supply chain. Customers may use the same system to ask for updates about the status of their orders. With a simple vocal command bots can retrieve data about orders and in parallel provide updates about the inventory’s status to internal management.
While customers receive orders’ shipment details, for example, storage managers visualize remaining components and may send further provisioning orders.
Industry 4.0 finds in chatbots the answer to every business’ need and benefits of a powerful technology that supports people’s work and set high quality levels.
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