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America’s Manufacturing Renaissance: The Key to Restoring Powerhouse Status

 

Illustration of humans and AI working together to optimize manufacturing

Over at the Think Tank section of SupplyChainBrain, Augury growth strategist Brian Fitzgerald argues that the US can be an industrial frontrunner again if the focus stays on applying AI solutions to increase efficiency, improve sustainability and empower workers.  

This article first appeared on SupplyChainBrain on May 10th, 2024.

The U.S. has the potential to reclaim its throne as one of the world’s largest manufacturing powerhouses — but not in the ways other countries, like China, have achieved this mission.

Fill The Labour Gaps By Winning The AI Race For Manufacturing

China has a manufacturing workforce of 212 million, which outnumbers those of the U.S., EU, Japan, Canada, Korea, India, Mexico and Vietnam combined. Yet China’s manufacturing activity has constricted in recent months, and the country’s Education Ministry estimates that the sector will face a massive worker shortage by 2025, which might give the U.S. an opening as it works to bring factories home.

“The U.S. will restore its manufacturing powerhouse status by leading where it’s already ahead: the artificial intelligence race.”

Still, naysayers think the U.S.’s industrial force will never catch up. In terms of manufacturing employment, they’re right — we’re not going to see 200 million workers take up careers in American factories overnight. 

But the U.S. will restore its manufacturing powerhouse status by leading where it’s already ahead: the artificial intelligence race. The country has initiated $249 billion in AI funding and employs the leading number of “top-tier” AI researchers, at 60%.

Educate People And Apply AI

AI’s potential for radical innovation in manufacturing is unmatched. In order to advance down the path to becoming an industrial juggernaut, American manufacturers must educate themselves on how AI can help meet their goals, including filling labor gaps and enhancing sustainability while driving efficiency, increasing profitability, and improving machine reliability. 

“AI-powered industrial co-pilots will be dynamic partners for both new and existing talent in the industry. These “assistants” will be able to help workers complete tasks more efficiently, increasing productivity and freeing up time for more advanced undertakings.”

AI will be a crucial solution for the U.S. as it looks to bring factories home. Not only does this disruptive technology drive efficiency with fewer workers in the mix, but it will attract an entirely new set of tech-savvy graduates who are excited to use AI on the job. 

Actionable Insights For Continual Improvement

For instance, AI-powered industrial co-pilots will be dynamic partners for both new and existing talent in the industry. These “assistants” will be able to help workers complete tasks more efficiently, increasing productivity and freeing up time for more advanced undertakings. These co-pilots are built on multiple advanced AI systems and, therefore, can make sense of complex production sensor data.

The insights gleaned from that data are used by plant workers to improve production processes and power faster machine repairs. While AI can do some human tasks faster and more accurately, the co-pilots won’t steal jobs. Instead, they’ll fill the critical gaps we’re seeing in the U.S., and cut down on menial tasks, so employees can focus on decision-making and strategy…

Read the full article at SupplyChainBrain.  

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