Tag: future

John Stroup, President & CEO of Belden Inc., explains the major global trends driving investment in automation for manufacturing. Some factors contributing to automation’s increased adoption are rising labor costs, the need for increased productivity, and changing consumer behaviors.

Automation enables manufacturers to become better at producing to meet consumer demand because it significantly shortens changeover, resulting in greater flexibility. Stroup goes on to explain that, due to rising labor costs in Asia, many manufacturers are moving production to the United States and using automation to replace human labor. Productivity is more elusive than ever in the current post-recession landscape, which increases the need to focus on maximizing productivity and ROI.

All of these factors are generating a great deal of interest in the adoption of automation in manufacturing—a process Stroup says will be “evolutionary, not revolutionary.” Stroup estimates automation adoption will reach 74% in 6-10 years. The automotive industry is already at that mark.

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A Boeing Center digital production

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Automation, or the use of robots and other artificial intelligence to perform tasks, has increased dramatically over the past couple decades. And while a Skynet scenario in the near future is unlikely, we are undoubtedly on the brink of an automation revolution.

John Stroup, President & CEO of Belden Inc., recently paid a visit to The Boeing Center to discuss some of the economic drivers for a revolution in automation. He believes that the United States is well-positioned for increased automation in manufacturing due to recent technological advances. In fact, the majority of manufacturing jobs lost in the last 10-15 years are a result of increased automation, not offshoring (as is commonly thought).

One of the economic factors Stroup credits for the automation revolution is the rise in minimum wages. As labor costs increase, companies look for ways to decrease spending, often turning to machines to replace their human counterparts. But despite the downward trend in manufacturing jobs, there has been a massive uptick in productivity due to robotics and other technology. He predicts that by 2025, the global average of tasks performed by robots will be around 25%, more than double what it is today. Stroup then went on to describe his experience at a “lights-out factory,” or a factory that doesn’t turn on the lights because it utilizes only robots and artificial intelligence.

Stroup went on to mention that Europe is often ahead of the curve in terms of automation due to relatively expensive labor. Regardless of one’s opinions about automation, we are likely to see its increased adoption as global labor costs rise and the cost of implementing AI falls.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


Technology is changing the landscape of supply chain at a breakneck pace, and organizations that are able to stay ahead of the curve often enjoy a significant advantage over their industry competitors. Digitization, cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence are all major factors in shaping operational strategy. These manufacturing innovations have given rise to a trend dubbed Industry 4.0.

John Stroup, President and CEO of Belden Inc., paid a visit to The Boeing Center to share his wealth of knowledge, and to give a brief history of Industry 4.0, aka the Smart Factory. He explained that Industry 4.0, a term coined in Germany, is the fourth major iteration in manufacturing processes. “‘Smart Manufacturing,’ ‘Intelligent Factory,’ and ‘Factory of the Future’ all describe an intelligent, flexible, and dynamic production facility, where machinery and equipment will have the ability to improve processes through self-optimization and autonomous decision-making,” said Stroup. The major improvements from 3.0 to 4.0 are the ability to automate complex tasks (even remotely) and the access to data across the whole supply chain that allows for greater flexibility and connectivity.

Stroup went on to discuss the key characteristics of the Smart Factory and how innovations in digital technology have improved existing business models and enabled new ones. Such innovative technology allows for improved productivity, flexibility, and decision making, all of which benefit manufacturers and consumers alike.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

BCSCI

Supply Chain // Operational Excellence // Risk Management

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