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
Chatbots are included in advanced automation category and thanks to their easy-to-use features and real-time interaction bring an added value to several areas of business.
Let’s see some examples.
chatbots in manufacturing – Customer care
Bots are in charge 24/7 and 365 days per year with no limits in terms of availability and capability, as a single bot may handle several questions at a time.
Chatbots provide accurate answers to every customers’ question and in case of need may transfer the conversation to a live agent, thus contributing to an effective workload distribution and increasing business productivity with the automation of recurring tasks.
chatbots in manufacturing – sales
Chatbots are effective sales agents as they guide customers through the selection of appropriate products or services, providing products and prices comparison, making up-selling and cross-selling, presenting marketing offers and generating new leads.
Interaction generates engagement and engagement generates sales leads.
chatbots in manufacturing – marketing
While websites and applications are based on a passive user experience, chatbots actively engage customers in personalized conversations that make marketing campaigns live and active.
A chatbot integrated in landing pages, for example, will start up conversations with users, based on their real interests and pages they visited. Also, the chatbot integration in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger will reach a bigger target audience.
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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