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Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director – India, Zebra Technologies

Image: Zebra Technologies

Smart Manufacturing “Connected smart factories to rise in future”

Jan 16, 2018

Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director – India, Zebra Technologies, in this interview with Suchi Adhikari, discusses the latest findings from the manufacturing survey that they recently conducted, while highlighting the future of industrial manufacturing in India. Excerpts…

What are some of the emerging trends shaping the future of industrial manufacturing?

The future of industrial manufacturing lies in Industry 4.0, fueled by real-time intelligence, which encourages growth and modernisation of the supply chain. To Zebra, it’s also synonymous with visibility to our customers. In the industrial segment, we see manufacturers looking for new ways to improve visibility and collaboration; their ERP systems should be accessible from anywhere within the enterprise. Logistics providers need to know when products will be available and warehouses must send information back to the manufacturer to ensure supply and demand fluctuations are easily met.

The ability to access information and insights gleaned from IoT and Big Data will naturally lead to actionable metrics. Key performance indicators can provide an overview of plant operations and complexities within specific manufacturing process zones can be examined. This information is invaluable to managers and it will become a hallmark of manufacturing throughout 2017.

Zebra Technologies recently unveiled a Manufacturing Vision Study. Can you highlight the key findings of the study and the biggest implications from these findings?

The global study revealed that manufacturers are adopting the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to enhance visibility and improve quality. Forward-looking manufacturers are embracing a quality-minded philosophy to drive growth, throughput and profitability and only 34% expect to rate improving quality as a top concern in 2022. In addition, manual processes are expected to dramatically decline.

Finally, the adoption of voice technology and wearables will expand over the next five years. The biggest takeaway is that globalisation, intensifying competition and rising customer demand for more options and higher quality products requires a connected plant floor. Zebra’s Manufacturing Vision Study shows manufacturers will continue to adopt Industry 4.0 and smart factory as the number of organisations achieving a fully connected factory is expected to rise dramatically over the next five years. Workers will use a combination of wearables, RFID and other emerging technologies to monitor the physical processes of the plant and enable companies to make decentralised decisions. By 2022, 64% of manufacturers are expected to be fully connected compared to
just 43% today.

What are some of the key industrial drivers for accelerating manufacturing investment in technology?

The key driver is visibility to support growth across operations. 63% of manufacturers cited tracking as a core focus with a blend of barcode scanning, RFID and RTLS technology, which is expected to be deployed to achieve the desired visibility.

Keeping in mind the impact of IoT in the industrial segment, what is your company’s vision for the future manufacturing plant floor?

As witnessed in the manufacturing vision study, within 3-5 years, the Internet of Things will start to become a reality. More capable robotics working alongside humans or ‘cobots’ will be in place. In addition, more sensors will be providing visibility throughout operations along with business intelligence systems to analyse and make sense of the data. Therefore, Zebra’s vision is aligned with the requirements of a connected plant floor as the number of fully connected factories rise dramatically over the next five years. Workers will use a combination of wearables, RFID and other emerging technologies to monitor the physical processes of the plant and enable companies to make decentralised decisions.

Can you brief us about your company’s future plans for the Indian market in the short and long term?

Zebra will continue to provide unprecedented visibility into our customers’ operations with innovative products that make our customers as smart and connected as the world we live in. Our company strives to provide visibility that’s visionary, which enables companies to make smart decisions more quickly and make the greatest impact for their organisations.

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