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NAM Report Finds Widespread, Beneficial AI Use by Manufacturers

Manufacturers are using artificial intelligence to overcome challenges in their operations, and they’re seeing additional benefits from it. That’s one of the overarching findings from the NAM’s new report, “Working Smarter: How Manufacturers Are Using Artificial Intelligence.”

Many use cases: The report—which includes in-depth looks at the AI-backed technologies used by manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson, Schneider Electric and Hitachi—details just how widely the industry is utilizing AI.

  • Manufacturers are deploying AI platforms to bolster efficiency, accelerate product and drug development, improve the resiliency of their supply chains, train their workforces and improve workplace safety. One business created an AI program that allows it to identify the location of spare parts in its supply chain so it can shift those items to areas that need them. Another, a pharmaceuticals firm, is using AI to find new means of molecule development and individualized treatment advancement for diseases.
  • Some companies are using machine vision, a recent AI advancement, to check parts and materials for defects that are difficult for humans to see, according to the report.

Key findings: Main takeaways from the report include the following:

  • Some 75% of manufacturers surveyed reported reduced costs and improved operational efficiency after deploying AI technology.
  • Approximately 50% reported improved operational visibility and responsiveness after deploying AI technology.
  • About 41% said they have seen improved process optimization and control after deploying AI technology.   

What now? Because AI has become critical to modern manufacturing, policymakers must foster a legislative environment that enables innovation and continued growth in the sector.

  • Specific policy recommendations from the report include investing in research and development and career technical education institutions to train the modern manufacturing labor force; passing federal privacy legislation; and using a risk-based approach to new AI laws that tailor any future legislation to specific use cases.

Add your voice: Manufacturers can help shape positive AI policy. Submit a short story or quote about your company’s use of AI at the form found on this page.

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