European companies are revamping their manufacturing processes by adopting automation and AI capabilities that make factories smarter and more sustainable, according to a new research report published by Information Services Group (ISG), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.
The ISG Provider Lens Manufacturing Industry Services and Solutions report for Europe finds manufacturers in Europe are exploring emerging technologies that enable smart products and solutions delivered by smart factories with Industry 4.0 connectivity. As the focus on sustainability and responsible sourcing gains prominence, manufacturing companies and service providers are working together in areas such as reverse logistics, digital tools and data analytics to manage manufacturers’ long-term sustainability goals throughout their supply chains, the ISG report says.
“Service providers are helping clients in various areas of product innovation and lifecycles,” said Philipp Glatz, ISG partner and Smart Manufacturing lead for EMEA. “Some providers are also working on solutions that use digital twins to optimize supply chains and make factories more sustainable.”
There is an increasing emphasis on implementing supply chain sustainability strategies due to pressure from government agencies around the world, the ISG report says. Manufacturers and their suppliers are looking to diversify their supply chains to mitigate vulnerabilities in reliability and resiliency that were exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, ISG says.
Digital twins are considered a key technology for facilitating the adoption of the factory-of-the-future concept because they help manufacturers to streamline processes and detect possible damage and errors faster, the ISG report says. European manufacturers can use the simulations that digital twins provide to translate their strategies from the boardroom to the shop floor, the report says. As the use of digital twins and AI increases, updating and strengthening operational technology (OT) security will steadily grow in importance, ISG says. According to the report, manufacturers will need to find the right providers to help them deploy OT-cybersecurity-compliant systems and data.
“The factory of the future is already here,” said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “The use of AI, IoT, digital twins and the convergence of IT and OT are poised to fundamentally redefine factory operations.”
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