Key Business Objectives
Traditionally, the process industry focuses on four improvement areas: HSSE (health, safety, security, and environment); efficiency; asset availability; and human reliability. Some of these areas are interdependent. For instance, human reliability has a profound effect on all the other areas. Efficiency can impact safety and security and so on. Even though these focus areas haven’t changed significantly over the years, companies are still struggling to adequately deal with them. They are continually seeking better ways to reduce the adverse effects these challenges have on their operations, which ultimately improves the bottom line.
Furthermore, the industry faces emerging challenges such as the changing business environment, value chain visibility, and optimization of sustainability. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic was a big challenge to keep workers safe, continue operations, and maintain production flexibility.
To understand the business objectives the customers are targeting, Yokogawa conducted global surveys with over 500 respondents on the advancement of industrial autonomy. According to results of the surveys, from reducing downtime to improved quality management and regulatory compliance, companies have several business objectives they are targeting when they push for greater autonomy through digital transformation initiatives. Some challenges will be common to all operations, others will vary depending on region, industry, company—and even by division or site. For some companies, improved safety is a focal point, while others are more directed toward reducing product defects or improving reliability, resiliency and sustainability. In any case, there are some objectives such as improved productivity and efficiency that are universally desirable targets never far from a CEO’s mind.
Reduced risks associated with human involvement in the production workplace. 48% of respondents said their companies put productivity as a key target.
Optimize operation efficiency
Increased flexibility and efficiency through automation of physical / decision making tasks. 40% of respondents named operations efficiency as one of their key objectives.
Improve worker safety
Worker safety has always been a priority. COVID-19 made safety, along with remote operations, the top investment priorities.
Industrial autonomy can help in terms of improving overall output by optimizing processes and reducing downtime, or at the individual level by augmenting workers with additional tools and decision making to improve their productivity. Yokogawa knows the challenges its customers face and can set them on the right path for their transition from industrial automation to industrial autonomy.
Extending the Benefits of Industrial Autonomy
Beyond the headline KPIs, a myriad of other benefits can be realized with industrial autonomy. For example, supporting sustainability efforts tied to the prominent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through initiatives such as AI-supported real-time energy optimization. In addition, improving worker safety and de-manning dangerous applications are flagged as being able to reduce insurance premiums, costs from injury compensation, and worker days lost. It can also improve quality by identifying faulty goods on a production line or further upstream, adjusting a production process to ensure quality tolerances are met.
Industrial autonomy can help companies obtain greater workplace satisfaction and promote customers’ engagement, while also benefiting the bottom line.
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