Automation is data-driven and can involve sophisticated networks of A.I. technology. Some chemical manufacturing supply chains still use older technologies that don’t incorporate these advancements. The bottom line is that integrating digital and A.I. automation into various parts of the chemical supply chain can make the industry as a whole more responsive to the market.
Here are some of the other benefits of automation in the chemical supply chain, based on Industry 4.0:
- Responsiveness to changing market dynamics: The demand for chemical products is hard to predict without reliable and current data. Automating aspects of the supply chain with sophisticated A.I. technology will allow faster data collection and processing.
- Minimised cost of operations: As long as the relevant parameters of operation and production are up-to-date, operations can be made more streamlined with automation, thereby minimising the overhead costs.
- Improved productivity: Automation can improve productivity by minimising errors, which in turn minimises the amount of wasted materials. This also ties in with point two, because higher productivity and fewer errors equal lower costs.
- Better accuracy and precision: Manufacturing chemicals requires both accuracy and precision, especially when mixing substances together and triggering reactions. If these processes are automated, they are more accurate, and can be programmed to be incredibly precise – even down to several decimal points.
- Monitoring inventory and replenishing supplies: With automation, supply inventory levels for specific chemicals and materials can be set at certain thresholds. This system will then be able to make automatic purchases once stocks fall below their specific thresholds.
- Transparency amongst stakeholders: Automation also means that the data on supply inventories, purchases, sales, and profits for certain periods (e.g. quarterly) can be made available to key stakeholders in real time.
- Lower risks: Shipments can be tracked using automated technology, and the shipment vehicles themselves can even be guided by A.I. GPS systems. These can provide information on traffic, weather, and roadmaps, which will significantly reduce the risks of accidents and delays. In the near future, it’s also possible that self-driving trucks will also be available for industrial use.
- Safer work environment: Automatic sensors can be installed on various machines and in various locations of the factory. This means that threats, such as toxic gas accumulation, can be avoided. Employee movements can also be tracked and their health monitored.
- Quality control: As productivity and production volume increase, so does the risk of error. In turn, this would mean lower quality products. Quality control can be significantly improved by integrating automation into chemical manufacturing supply chains, because it can be used to oversee what procedures are in place, if they’re being followed, and how to optimise them.
- Collaboration: The collaboration and communication among employees can also be improved with the help of things like automation software, project management tools, and collaboration apps that helps to keep everyone informed.
All in all, there are many reasons why automation can improve the chemical manufacturing supply chain. From minimised costs to increased productivity, automation is the next step in the chemical industry’s journey.