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Manufacturing, Technology & Industry 4.0

Gian Paolo Bassi
By Gian Paolo Bassi CEO, SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systèmes

We are living in extraordinary times and technology is moving faster than ever. Manufacturers are feeling the pressure to produce components faster with higher quality and at a lower cost. Adding to all of this, we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.  

There is a lot to be very excited about through all of this, as changes in the workforce and increasing software and hardware improvements allow companies to reinvent themselves and flourish well into the future.

Let us start with some statistics from the National Association of Manufacturers.


If you look closely at the survey results above, a couple of things stand out: 

  1. Companies are understanding that the future of manufacturing revolves around investing in their employees through education as technology changes how we do our day-to-day jobs.
  2. Apprenticeships are growing in popularity and are poised to change the next generation's minds around manufacturing as a career. Manufacturing is now high-tech, not the dirty job most traditionally think of.

So if training and apprenticeships are key, what is the next generation learning? How has this world changed? For those that have been around it for decades, the changes may seem small. But for new people coming into the workforce, the changes are significant.  

It starts with Industry 4.0 and digital transformation. Today's leading manufacturers are leveraging the power of computing to get real-time analytics that not only facilitate their ability to make the correct decisions to stay profitable, but to also gain new customers while enhancing the existing customer experience. 

The digitization doesn't just stop with connecting machines, barcodes and integrated scheduling or logistics.  It also includes CAD and CAM working together with artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the steps needed to design and program components. Without manufacturing, CAD does not exist. Without CAD, CAM doesn't work. Industry 4.0 takes the original CAD and CAM and supercharges them with AI and connected analytics through one platform.

The investment in training is a big part of digital transformation, as most companies have invested in systems or built their own, and they are not efficient. As the global manufacturing market becomes more connected, companies have to invest in a platform that provides a single source of truth available anytime, anywhere and on any device. 

A big reason for this is also part of the survey above, and that is work-life balance. With the pandemic, people had a chance to look around and evaluate what is important. The work-life balance also impacts manufacturers and how they can leverage technology to maintain output and profitability while finding the best talent, no matter where they are. Through digital transformation and the adoption of a unified platform, employers find they can get more out of their employees by being connected remotely and still satisfy work-life balance.

So, the question becomes, what are technology companies doing to provide these needed unified platforms? Does something like this exist? It is often difficult to find a clear answer for these questions with companies trying to sell point solutions as platforms, but they do exist, and they are not new. Large companies have been adopting business platforms for well over a decade. 

With advancements in technology, these industry-proven, large-scale platforms are now available to all manufacturers and require very little IT infrastructure or support. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform allows a company to take all its data and store it in a unified space for everyone to access when needed. From ERP/MES to CAD and CAM, the platform allows a company to run its entire business and access its data anywhere at any time. It also allows companies to enhance their customers' experience while maintaining continuity, profitability and efficiency. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s value is also proven by some of the largest companies and innovative startups on the planet. The future of manufacturing is data and collaboration, and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides that for customers today.

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