Tag: AI

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5 Ways Robotics is Building New Paths for Advancements in the Construction Industry

The construction industry is one of the least automated industries in the world, where the primary source of productivity is mostly manual-intensive labor. However, recent advancements in technology are prompting companies to contemplate over the use of robotics in construction. Robotics is known to increase productivity and get work done quickly. Numerous companies in the construction industry are looking at ways in which robotics in construction can help take over dangerous or highly repetitive tasks such as improving quality, productivity, and efficiency. We have curated some of the top use cases of robotics in construction that would soon go mainstream in the construction industry.Get More Info_SE

 

The use cases of robotics in construction

Lean construction practices

Lean construction refers to a principle that is aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity. This approached emphasizes the elimination of waste. In the case of traditional construction processes, there is an immense amount of waste that is created. This is not only harmful to the environment but also significantly affects the overall profitability of the company. Using robotics in construction can help reduce the wastage considerably due to its ability to ensure precision and accuracy. Though investment in robotics might prove to be a daunting task for many companies in the construction industry, it would prove to be a fruitful investment in the long run.

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Robotic systems are completely automated. This means that the products being manufactured in the construction industry will be more consistent and will display higher quality when compared to manual processes, which may not ensure the same precision throughout. However, by eliminating human errors and inconsistency, the use of robotics in construction can ensure speed, efficiency, and consistency in the overall quality of the output.

Speeding up demolition

One of the major use cases of robotics in construction is for the purpose of demolition.  Demolition activities such as breaking down walls, crushing concrete, and gathering all debris from the initial stages in construction. Speeding up the demolition process can save companies in the construction industry for large amounts of time and money. The use of robotics in construction will help speed up processes and also make them more efficient.

3D printing in construction

3D printing has stirred up a wave of awe in the healthcare industry. This miraculous invention is slowly being incorporated into the construction industry. This technology which runs on automation and robotics can print complex, layered, parts and objects that can be used in the construction of homes, buildings, bridges, and roads. Furthermore, using robotics in construction in the form of 3D printing can standardize the production of pieces that are required for construction throughout a particular project. This eliminates the chances of dissimilarities in the production and saves ample time and money.

Bricklaying

Robotics have application in construction industry even for traditional processes such as bricklaying. Automation in monotonous processes like brick laying increases the efficiency and the time taken to complete the task. It also increases the accuracy and precision of brick laying. Interestingly, robotics is known to finish the process of brick-laying for an entire house within a few days.


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5 Interesting Ways in Which AI can Enhance Your Supply Chain

artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is gradually gaining a foothold as a mainstream technology in most industries. So, what is this technology all about? Artificial Intelligence is the intelligence displayed by machines, in which, learning and action-based capabilities mimic autonomy rather than process-oriented intelligence. Ideally, AI can be broken down into two categories- Augmentation (which assists humans with their day-to-day tasks) and Automation (which works completely autonomously in any field without the need for any human intervention). Understanding these categories of AI capacities is essential for the future implementation of artificial intelligence into business work tools. The application of AI into supply chain related-tasks holds high potential for boosting top-line and bottom-line value. Here are some interesting ways that artificial intelligence can help enhance your supply chain:SE_Demo2

Operational procurement

To streamline procurement and related tasks through automation and augmentation with the help of chatbots, there is a need for robust and intelligent data sets which the procurement bot would be able to access as a reference. Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence that can be used for functions like speaking to suppliers, place purchasing requests, and also to set and send actions to suppliers regarding governance and compliance materials. With the help of these automated functions in the supply chain, a company can increase their focus on other vital areas.

Supply chain planning

For any business, supply chain planning forms a crucial aspect of the supply chain strategy. Machine learning coupled with supply chain planning could help companies in forecasting within inventory, demand, and supply. Machine learning also has the ability to revolutionize the agility and optimize supply chain decision-making. With the help of machine learning, supply chain managers can deliver the best possible outcomes based on intelligent algorithms and machine-to-machine analysis of big data sets.

Warehouse management

Supply chain planning is heavily reliant on proper warehouse and inventory-based management. One of the main problems most businesses face regarding warehousing is understocking or overstocking. Machine learning algorithms and data streams have precise predictive power to forecast the supply and demand. With this mechanism, issues pertaining to the shortage or excess stock can be avoided.

Logistics and shipping

The rising demand for on-time delivery is putting pressure on companies to improve the efficiency of their shipping and logistics facilities. Efficiency in shipping and logistics is a win-win situation for both the company and its customers. Faster and more accurate shipping reduces lead times and transportation expenses, adds elements of environmental friendly operations, and reduces labor costs.

 Supplier selection

Choosing the right supplier and maintaining a good professional relationship with them is a crucial task for businesses. Also, sourcing from the right suppliers is an increasing concern for enhancing supply chain sustainability, CSR, and supply chain ethics. A single slip-up in this operation could lead to bad PR and negative publicity for a company. With the help of machine learning and intelligent algorithms, firms can get active real-time data about their suppliers. This will help them in better choosing the best supplier from the lot with minimum errors of judgment.


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Where Will MRO Category Management Be 5 Years from Now?

Procurement teams have a tough time tracking spends on Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) category. The problem is persistent not only in tracking but also in ascertaining savings initiatives arising out of it. A study conducted by Grainger reported that businesses spent about $110 billion on MRO materials every year. They further stated that out of the total expenditure around $12 billion of items such as light bulbs, nuts and bolts, and cleaning supplies sits on the shelves never to be used. That is a lot of money sleeping and doing nothing for you. The problems with MRO just doesn’t end there, excess inventory and special projects are causing aSE_Demo2 surge in the MRO materials cost. There surely must be a fix for all such problems today or someday in the future. So what does the future hold for MRO category management?

IBM Watson

IBM Watson has been a prominent name in the market which has made strong associations with AI and machine learning. IBM Watson is looking to solve all existing problem with MRO category management with the help of data. IBM Watson can take inputs from a wide variety of sensors, machine, and maintenance data to accurately predict a breakdown so that company can provide a preventive solution beforehand. Such predictive maintenance eliminates the need to spend money on stocking spare parts and tools. Apart from generating savings from inventory cost, it also saves the company the opportunity costs arising from downtime caused by machine breakdown. Additionally, the ability to predict breakdown in advance will eliminate spot buying activities which in turn will allow procurement professionals to negotiate competitive deals. IBM Watson looks to simplify the work of the procurement professionals in the future, with the smooth flow of operations and optimizing spends in MRO procurement. Alongside, reducing the downtime will automatically lead to an increase in overall output and efficiency.

Procurement Automation

The future of MRO procurement lies not only in predictive maintenance but also in the ability to automate purchases. Procurement teams will always have data on stocks and inventory handy, combining this data with predictive maintenance data, cognitive computers can ascertain if a specific part’s stock needs to be replenished or not. If a need for purchase is identified, then the AI system can automatically screen preferred lists of suppliers automate the actual procurement component. The process is starting from need identification to supplier screening, fetching quotations, analyzing best deals and drafting contract can be fully automated in the future.

The future for MRO category management looks bright, which multiple complexities solved by IBM Watson and procurement automation. It is clear that the future lies within data, with predictive analytics pointing out adverse situations before they arise and providing optimal solutions.

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Outsourcing services

Have Automation and AI put an End to the Era of Outsourcing Services?

The developed parts of the world have enjoyed lowered production cost and higher profits by outsourcing services from various operations like production and customer service. With countries such as China, India, and Bangladesh being the major outsourcing services hubs due to lower labor rates, companies have been able to lower their cost base considerably. On a similar note, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have also significantly saved large chunks of the cost for the companies. As a result, many analysts and experts have predicted that the days of outsourcing services will be outnumbered soon enough, with automation and AI eating up numerous jobs. So does the rise of automation and AI bring down the curtain on outsourcing? In this article, we have explained the reasons for this question. 

How Automation and AI Impact Outsourcing Services?

Increasing Cost of Outsourcing Services

Although traditionally companies preferred outsourcing to save on labor costs, today the BPO’s charge higher fee for their services and add markups making those services expensive. Additionally, governments across the world also discourage companies from their outsourcing services and promote employment and production in home country instead. For instance, under the Obama administration, a $200 billion in tax relief and incentives law was put in place, which encouraged American companies to make an investment in their business and create new jobs. Other laws allowed businesses to write off all costs in new investment in equipment in the US.

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Loss of Control

When businesses outsource their operations, they contract the work to other company, which means sharing company details, information, and data. The company will be at the mercy of the BPO. Also, quality and service delivery from the BPOs may vary widely.

Supply Chain and Logistics Efficiency

Outsourcing services of manufacturing and production operations may seem lucrative at the beginning with all those cost savings opportunities. However, businesses may incur unanticipated costs such as hidden fees, import and export duties, shipping costs, haulage, freight costs, legislative costs, and additional taxes. Additionally, due to the complicated logistics network, the time-to-market is also significantrequest proposally increased. Consequently, businesses are looking to manufacture in the home country whenever possible by carrying out make-or-buy decisions.

Automation and AI

The most prominent factor that could signal the end of outsourcing services is the rising popularity of automation and AI. The technology is so advanced that it can eliminate the majority of human errors, and provide a quality output at a faster rate. Automation in manufacturing has been around for a long time. However, AI is threatening to replace service facing operations. For instance, with machine learning and cognitive computing abilities, companies can use chat-bots to solve customer queries and automatically reply to e-mails from the customer.


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Weekend Roundup, 10th Nov: News Across the World Affecting the Global Supply Chain

There has been a substantial leap in technological development in the field of procurement and supply chain with LevaData, a privately held company, announced the launch of its product Leva, which it claims to be the world’s first AI advisor for strategic sourcing and procurement. The product personalizes insights relating to finance, manufacturing, engineering, and procurement guiding procurement professionals through sourcing risks and savings opportunity. “Leva’s negotiation recommendations allow you to optimize decision making in the face of complex sourcing issues and large data sets.” Claims the company’s website. Additionally, itSE_Demo2 provides proactive guidelines, optimizes decision making, delivers quicker insights, and makes cognitive sourcing easier.

News Across the World Affecting the Global Supply Chain

GH$98m in Savings Through Stringent Procurement Process – Ghana

The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has reported a savings of GH$98 million in savings through the stringent procurement process. The government agency expressed that cracking down on contract padding and procurement malpractices have improved the procurement efficiency of the organization. Some of these malpractices included tender rigging, collusion among teachers, bid or tender suppression, and coercing competitors to withhold offers and participation. The Chief Executive of Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Agyenim-Boateng Adjei, released a statement informing, “Procurement Officers and members of GIPS who misconduct themselves in their line of duties and found culpable of any ‘misprocurement’ through PPA’s procurement audits will be made to face sanctions as spelt out in the GIPS Code of Ethics and Conduct.”

SEAT ft. Telefonica – Promoting Digitalization in Automotive Industry

In an attempt to promote digitalization in the automotive industry, Telefonica has reached an agreement with SEAT to promote the use of blockchain and 5G technology in the car industry. The partnership will see Telefonica as the strategic IT supplier, with SEAT working in three key areas, namely, shared use of insights, applications of 5G connectivity, and digital transformation projects in the automotive industry. The move is aimed towards offering mobility solutions to simplify the lives of the user.

Shelves Scanning Robots in Walmart

Walmart is looking to change the face of retail procurement and supply chain with its recent move of rolling out shelf-scanning robots in more than 50 stores. These robots are approximately 2-foot tall and attached with cameras to check stock, identify incorrect pricing labels, along with missing or misplaced items. The robots are highly reliable in identifying stock outs and replenishing inventory faster, savings employees a lot of time. Jeremy King, CTO of Walmart U.S., expressed that store employees have time to scan shelves only about twice a week. Additionally, the company has also hastened the checkout process by allowing customers to scan their purchases and digitized operations like financial services and pharmacy in stores.

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AI Technology – Redefining the Wheel in Supply Chain Planning

Each decade we are blessed with technology that can transform the way the world operates ranging from the wheel, electricity, telecommunications, and internet, to smartphones. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be touted as the next big thing along the line which can simulate human thinking process and which enables the machine to process large data sets and provide accurate decision-outcome. A majority of the companies believe AI to be the next step in the industrial revolution which has a huge potential for complete automation with minimal errors. Businesses have realized the power of AI in improving their efficiency and profitability, as a result of which they have started using AI in the field of robotics by automating tasks from production to delivery. However, businesses are exploring ways to leverage AI into their supply chain planning process including demand forecasting, production planning, and logistics planning.

Here are some ways AI can improve the efficiency of supply chain planning:SE_Demo2

Streamlined Process in Supply Chain Planning
The businesses relying on mechanical ways of handling their supply chain planning process are facing consequences of a tedious distribution management systems that handles multiple operations prone to human error. The process of manually identifying stock levels, estimating optimal replenishment cycle, and fulfilling orders are highly erroneous and inaccurate. AI systems would be able to scan through colossal amounts of historical data to streamline every aspect of supply chain planning from demand to inventory to supply.

Handle Supply Chain Disruptions
Supply chain professionals are humans after all, and humans tend to stick to things that are familiar to them. On the contrary, AI would not be bogged down with any pre-conceived notion, and act purely on the basis of data available to them and past-outcomes of decisions. For instance, IBM recently launched Watson Supply Chain, which considers infinite sources of information including social media, weather forecasts, historical data, and newsfeeds, and uses cognitive technology to track and predict supply chain disruptions to suggest the best course of action.

Logistics Optimization
Apart from forecasting and scheduling functions of supply chain planning, companies are looking to incorporate AI into technologies such as driverless cars to optimize the process of logistics planning. The advent of autonomous vehicles could significantly improve accuracy, decrease lead times, reduce transportation costs, and save human labor costs. For instance, AI technology of TransVoyant is able to collect data from satellites, radars, sensors, and smartphones to track real-time movement of goods and estimate the time of arrival by factoring in weather conditions, port congestion, and natural disasters.

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