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[AI Business School] [Define an AI strategy to create business value Transform business processes in manufacturing with AI] [How will AI change the manufacturing industry in the near future?] >>Gary: If I think back over my 30-odd years in the industry, [Gary Cantrell | Jabil, Inc., Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer] most of which has been in some form or fashion associated with manufacturing, the changes have been very dramatic. If I reflect on the last 10 years, I think the changes have dramatically increased, much faster than in the first 20. I'm not too sure about my predictive powers for what's coming at us next, given the pace of chance. But there are things happening already that I can expand on. With AI in manufacturing, what we're talking about is automated processes being able to autonomously make intelligent decisions. I think the factory of the future, you'll have a workplace where AI and humans work together. And you can kind of already see this happening. Intelligent machines do low-level routine work, liberating people for more skillful tasks or more supervisory roles. People do the tasks that require more complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. Skills that just aren't there yet, in terms of AI. One of our expectations with AI in manufacturing would be our ability to increase throughput, and scale products more effectively and with a higher speed. This will also allow us to use more interchangeable systems, meaning robotics, to be more flexible on a product being delivered on a single line, and allowing lower batches of product that is cost-effective, which will further enable customization of the product on a just-in-time scale, and a much better supply chain that matches demand. [Why is Jabil investing in AI technology?] This is a highly competitive business. And Jabil's focused on becoming the world's most technologically-advanced manufacturing solutions provider. Our approach to high-level performance in manufacturing includes supporting all aspects of our manufacturing activities with advanced computerized control and monitoring systems. Our customers and suppliers need to be able to continuously monitor material availability, and track work in progress on a real-time basis. In addition to that, employees are Jabil's greatest asset. And we choose to use our employees on activities that are complex that leverage their leadership and intelligence to the greatest extent. Focusing AI on removing some of the mundane activities across these functions enables us to get better productivity and better employee satisfaction. With the progression of the foundational technology supporting the democratization of AI, we can now take advantage of this in a larger scale practice. Since we're always under pressure for productivity, AI can function 24/7 to help further relieve the demands on our workforce, and make us more efficient from an end-end standpoint. [What opportunities have you identified to use AI?] We've invested heavily in digitizing the supply chain using IoT. These technologies have let us connect manufacturing process to cloud services, such as machine learning and AI power predictive analytics. For example, we've worked with Microsoft to enable real-time AI calculations on both IoT devices and in the cloud. We're using computer vision algorithms to rapidly and accurately scan images to improve quality control processes. We've seen really significant productivity gains from this activity. The role of AI, as I mentioned before, is not only to remove repetitive, mundane tasks from our employees, but to also augment the greater population of our knowledge workers with actionable insights. A good example is using AI to identify some of our security anomalies, or self-analyze some of our security anomalies so that we focus our professionals on the items that are of the highest risk and the most value to us. Another good example in the manufacturing space is leveraging the model developed by Jabil to do optical inspection of the circuit boards. This removes the need to have a highly technical resource evaluate every potential failure on component placement. And like I said before, then they can focus on anomalies that will impact the quality of the product. [How does AI impact your profit growth?] In the manufacturing space, I see benefits across the board. I see AI enhancing profit by reducing equipment downtime, identifying production defects, improving the supply chain, shortening design times, et cetera. Customer requirements are becoming more complex. And the customers are increasingly relying on manufacturing solutions providers, like Jabil, to manage their supply chain, as well as their manufacturing. Fully digitized supply chains are critical to meeting the demand, and for flexibility. AI-enhanced predictive maintenance will also bring significant cost savings to the factories, as well as improved up time. This is an area where we're working on now with Microsoft to build deep learning models that are required in order to further that cause. [How is AI helping to create new lines of business for Jabil?] Partnering with our customers and our suppliers to optimize forecast plans is probably one of the areas of the biggest opportunity that we have. This aligns with the concept of virtualized supply chains, where we have complete transparency end to end. AI can and will, in my belief, substantially improve our collective efficiencies on both supply and capacity and demand planning. [What advice would you give to other senior decision-makers to help them establish a successful AI strategy?] As we embarked on our journey to be the world's most technologically-advanced manufacturing solutions provider, we realized early on that we couldn't do it alone, that we have to have strategic partners, and that we have to develop an ecosystem that will allow us to achieve that goal. Our partners need to be experts in the application of the technology, as well as the foundational technology, itself. We can bring subject matter expertise to the business, so that when we put them together, this enables us to jointly develop solutions, which address the business challenges, and solve them in a cost-effective and timely way. Since a large portion of the work involves understanding the data, getting access to the data, and applying the appropriate models, our partners are absolutely critical. This joint understanding of the business provides more practical and deployable solutions. [What do you see on the horizon for AI in manufacturing?] If I think about the technologies that are evolving right now, one area is of particular interest to me. And this is leveraging digital twin technology, perhaps with an AI overlay, that would enable complex what-if scenarios in a very deep level of detail. That could be very instrumental in driving manufacturing efficiency, especially in the capacity space.

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Duration: 7 minutes and 24 seconds
Language: English
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Posted by: csintl on Jun 18, 2019


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