Advancing technology, new concepts and new systems have taken globalization to a whole new level. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has brought a sea change in the way business is done worldwide, giving rise to infrastructural changes and ushering in a new era for the manufacturing industry.
In particular, the automotive industry, which is constantly innovating, invests a lot in value creation networks. This means a unique supply chain and complex product management cycles that must be in synchronization with the changes triggered in the process. The use of ICT also encourages faster development of new technologies giving project teams the ability to collaborate globally. In such a scenario, ICT also provides the security and governance required where Research and Development, patents and copyrights are involved.
The call for mobility
As social trends emerge and evolve, the needs of customers are rapidly changing giving rise to growing demand in mobility. This has fueled the manufacturing industry to come up with new concepts to satisfy consumers and this would not be possible without ICT.
Moreover, the competition in the international market has forced labour-intensive manufacturing and production units to between automation and ceasing to exist. Technology permeates every level of the industry right from the use of computers to enter and process orders, streamline deliveries and other logistics, invoicing, reporting, inventory and quality management.
The greatest impact of ICT in manufacturing
Perhaps the biggest area of cost savings through ICT in the manufacturing arena comes in project management which involves the development of prototypes. In any manufacturing set up the most expensive activity is design and testing. In the auto industry, the vehicle is designed followed by the manufacture of a prototype. This is then crash tested, then tested for performance. Later it goes through a photo shoot for promotions. All this involves the expenditure of millions.
ICT has literally revolutionized this process by doing away with a number of expensive tasks. Manufacturing industries now use design and manufacturing software that can create prototypes of anything from a small car to an aircraft, including parts. Once the product is designed, the specifications are fed into a program that orchestrates parts manufacture. The flexibility of these systems allows the minimisation of trial and errors and enables precision engineering and manufacturing. The result is significant savings in time and money.
ICT comes to the rescue when manufacturers have to meet the challenge of having to produce innovative high quality products at low costs. ICT in manufacturing also plays a role in creating a sustainable society by minimizing the consumption of natural resources and energy that go into prototyping.