Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

103 INDUSTRIALS & MANUFACTURING then build dashboards to understand the performance across complex, inter-dependent and globalised value chains. “Manufacturers can use artificial intelligence to understand data from right across their business and partner ecosystem,” says Mislin. “Tools like Microsoft Copilot in Microsoft Fabric play into this. Firms can deploy generative AI at the top level of their enterprise structure and use it to provide answers to various questions within any function. For example, it can compile all the relevant data intelligence for an end-of-shift report, including late deliveries, whether any machines went down or which employees went home sick.” Improving efficiency with analytics Data analytics tools can be used to both complement human work and replace the manual tasks that can be automated, lifting the burden of work for manufacturing employees who are under pressure to achieve tough output targets to meet customer demand, against the backdrop of worker and skills shortages. For example, Avanade worked with a large automotive manufacturer to add a vision analytics solution to its welding process to save time for engineers and improve safety and quality assurance. “One of the critical safety compliance stages for car manufacturers lies in the production of the chassis,” explains Mislin. “The body assembly team builds the car’s metal frame by welding several parts together. Since the chassis is vital for a vehicle to withstand daily usage and the risk of accidents on our busy roads, highquality welds are vital to provide structural strength, rigidity, and stability to the vehicle. “Avanade worked with the manufacturer to develop a solution that can instantaneously analyse photos of welds at incredibly highdefinition – something that a human simply can’t do. This a simple example of technology gives humans superpowers, enabling us to preempt problems and achieve more within our hectic daily working lives.” This move towards more autonomous operations within factories can help firms to reduce waste, improve quality and lessen very high workloads for staff. Avanade’s work with the confectionary and pet food manufacturer Mars exemplifies how digital twin technology helps manufacturers to optimise their supply chains. Mars has reduced giveaways by 80 per cent with Avanade’s digital twin solution Photo: Mars