76% of executives say they have embraced “digital enablers” such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and the cloud.

Image: Google Cloud

According to a new study by Google Cloud, manufacturers around the world have accelerated the use of digital technology due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 1,154 senior manufacturing directors surveyed in the report “Google Cloud Industries: Accelerating Intelligent Intelligence Among Manufacturers,” 76% said they adopted “digital enablers,” such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the cloud.

“We used to count the number of artificial intelligence and machine learning projects in Ford. Now it’s so common that it’s like asking how many people use math. This includes an artificial intelligence ecosystem fed by data that acts as a ‘digital network flywheel,'” cloud services director Bryan Goodman, Ford Global Data & Insight and Analytics.

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The majority of respondents (64%) use artificial intelligence in their day-to-day operations to promote business continuity (38%), improve efficiency (38%) and help employees do their jobs better (34%), the report notes. 66 percent of this group said their dependence on artificial intelligence is growing.

The five largest areas in which artificial intelligence is used are:

  • Quality inspections (39%)
  • Supply chain management (36%)
  • Risk management (36%)
  • – quality checks on products and / or production lines (35%), and
  • Inventory management (34%).

“Artificial intelligence also applies to many other use cases, from powering connected plants to assisting predictive maintenance,” the report states. Custom machine learning models “are able to predict machine events that, if ignored, can cause scheduled downtime and negatively impact production schedules. In construction, artificial intelligence can help builders reduce critical errors leading to delays – while optimizing energy consumption and supporting complex logistics and scheduling.”

The top three industries using artificial intelligence are automotive / OEM manufacturers (76%), automotive suppliers (68%) and heavy machinery manufacturers (67%). The use of artificial intelligence is increasing rapidly in the sectors of metals (75%), industrial assembly (72%) and heavy machinery (69%).

The five largest countries whose industries have adopted artificial intelligence are Italy (80%), Germany (79%), France (71%), the United Kingdom (66%) and the United States (64%). Korea (85%), Japan (83%) and the United States (81%) are increasing the use of artificial intelligence faster than the rest of the world.

However, some headwinds are. The lack of skilled personnel to implement artificial intelligence (25%), the lack of an appropriate IT infrastructure (23%) and the cost (21%) are the three main reasons cited by respondents for not introducing artificial intelligence, the report says.

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“The key to large-scale deployment of artificial intelligence is its ease of deployment and use,” the report states. “With artificial intelligence becoming more common in solving manufacturers’ real problems, we are seeing a shift from a ‘pilot refinery’ to the golden age of artificial intelligence. The industry is no stranger to innovation – from mass production to low-weight manufacturing. ”

About the survey

The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Google Cloud from November 15 to 4, 2020, and involved 1,154 senior production managers in France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. companies with more than 500 employees.

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