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The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Digital Transformation

Oct 25, 2022

Recent developments in the area of artificial intelligence are causing a shift in the digital transformation of many companies. While interest in AI has been long-standing, many companies and managers have struggled to understand how this new technology can really help them take their business to the next generation. Now, we’re starting to see feedback and data that help put all of this in perspective.
Artificial Intelligence in Digital Transformation

What Does Artificial Intelligence Have to Offer?

It’s no secret that AI promises to revolutionize nearly every industry by replacing many manual and repetitive tasks with data-driven and responsive programming. In addition, AI is exceeding expectations when it comes to tasks like inventory management, equipment effectiveness, maintenance cost reduction, and more.

In fact, AI has found its way into nearly every aspect of the business world, making companies more agile and ready to act on up-to-the-minute data. Still, it is important to set realistic goals for your AI integration and have a solid understanding of what role this technology is designed to play.

AI Support

AI is most successful when it is used in a support role throughout a business. That is, it can take over a wide range of repetitive and predictable tasks, freeing up your human resources for more innovative work that only we can do. Here’s a breakdown of some of the ways AI is currently being used with great success.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Losses due to inefficient equipment can quickly add up for any business. Fortunately, new AI tools allow you to take all of your equipment into the digital age by monitoring downtime, isolating disruptions in service, finding patterns between shifts and products, and letting you see where you can improve.

Using algorithms and real-time data gathered by AI, managers can quickly see whether or not a particular piece of equipment is meeting expectations, or if certain jobs or tasks are causing undue strain on the rest of the system. This is information that would be difficult to collect or observe even with an astute manager on the case.

Predictive Maintenance

In an area adjacent to equipment effectiveness is predictive maintenance. These days, AI can detect even the smallest anomaly within a system and send up a red flag. This gives you the chance to review the equipment for signs of breakdown or failure, and get ahead of regular maintenance. By scheduling these maintenance tasks automatically and in the stream of regular business, you can nearly eliminate unexpected downtime across your equipment.

Furthermore, you can use the data gathered over the long term to decide when a piece of equipment is due for replacement or upgrades. Analyzing the ongoing costs of maintenance relative to the output of the machine will tell you everything you need to know.

Parts Inventory

Another area where many businesses stand to improve through AI is parts inventory management. Both overages and shortages cost your company money. AI is able to take in all available information, set up demand forecasts, grapple with lead times, and set up automatic procurement procedures when necessary.

Companies often spend large sums of money just trying to manage their inventory on a day-to-day basis, but AI is capable of handling nearly all of these tasks effortlessly all while saving you time and money.

Improved Productivity

Perhaps the most important thing that AI does for us is improving productivity by taking mundane tasks off our plates and automating them. Simple AI is now capable of answering calls, troubleshooting basic problems, and following decision trees. Managers and employees at every level find that AI guidance helps them cut down on lost time due to indecision and data analysis.

In other words, when AI takes over basic problems, your employees are able to go about their jobs more efficiently and effectively with fewer interruptions. They can go straight to the source of the problem and fix it without having to weed through all of the incoming data themselves.

Quality Control

Quality control is another area that is seeing vast improvements through the use of AI. By digitizing quality control procedures, standards become more accurate and enforceable. In addition, the AI can track pass and failure rates and point you toward problem areas that continue to crop up.

AI quality control is also able to dramatically increase the speed that products are scanned, so you can scan even more products in less time and identify product run deficiencies earlier in the product run.

Customer Support

AI has become common in the world of customer support and continues to revolutionize chat and phone support over time. From automated bill payment systems to call directing, AI has largely replaced traditional customer support systems.

Companies across every industry can make huge improvements in customer service and reduce call volume by allowing AI to answer more customer problems without human input. That leaves your customer support agents free to solve more in-depth problems that require skilled attention.

Areas of Growth

In addition to the support roles mentioned above, there are a few areas where AI is just starting to break in and make big changes. For companies looking to get ahead of the curve, this presents a promising opportunity to utilize AI in new and innovative ways as well.

AI Marketing

Marketing is one area where AI has been relatively slow to catch on. This might be because natural language processing has taken a long time to develop, whereas more analytical tasks were easier for computers to learn. However, there are still many ways that AI can help your marketing team even if you don’t utilize it in a content creation capacity.

For instance, AI is extremely useful for tracking customer habits, predicting buying patterns, finding graphics that draw people in, and personalizing marketing campaigns to individual customers.

AI Speech and Language Generation

There are a number of areas where spoken commands and responses aim to improve the customer experience and replace human answering machines. While these have been slowly building up as natural language progresses, we are seeing more and more AI tools designed to speak and listen in real-time.

Implementation of Your AI Digital Transformation

With so many uses for AI, it’s easy to see why some businesses are unsure of where to begin. Ultimately, jumping into Industry 4.0 looks like a huge leap to make. However, implementation strategists are here to help you move in the right direction by adding AI incrementally.

Having a solid implementation strategy means that your employees and customers will buy into the system and see the benefits immediately. Here’s why:

Focus On Areas Employees Struggle With

Early on, there was a lot of distrust of AI systems in businesses, but in recent years, more employees have seen how these systems can reduce their workload and improve their efficiency. These days, we are seeing more and more employees asking for AI tools to help them simplify their jobs.

Focus On Support, Not Outsourcing

Another big piece of successful AI integration is assuring employees and customers alike that these tools exist to support and improve the business, not to outsource it. This is important because most of us have misgivings about the idea that our jobs or favorite products are being handed off to AI in entirety, and we worry that there will be a reduction in quality or personalized service because of it. Taking steps to reduce these concerns will earn you more support as you make the transition.

Focus On Transparency

In order for AI to really become a trusted part of your business, you must be willing to be transparent with the data it gathers and train everyone to use the system effectively. Oftentimes when new technologies fail, it is because management has ordered the change without stakeholder buy-in, leaving employees to grapple with new problems and no solutions.

Bringing stakeholders into the process early and providing them with ongoing support will ease the way, and help them see that these tools are designed to make their lives easier.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and businesses that want to survive through the next generation are already looking at how to push through the digital transformation. AI is going to play a major part in supporting businesses large and small as they seek to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and maximize profits. To learn more about what AI solutions are currently available in your industry, contact SAAB RDS today and speak with one of our experts.