One of the most rewarding parts of my job is getting to watch different
industries implement new technologies that improve and transform
business operations. Manufacturing, in particular, has always captivated
my attention in this respect. When I think about how Amazon’s globally
connected distribution network has changed in the last decade alone,
it’s incredible. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to Artificial
Intelligence (AI) and task automation to predictive maintenance
technology, the advancements in this space are creating a world of new
But this is complicated by that fact that many manufacturers have been
around for decades or longer. Some of their equipment was designed
before the internet even existed. If replacing this equipment isn’t an
option, how do these manufacturers begin their journey to modern
manufacturing? The choice of what to embrace and where to start can be
Ultimately, the reason for adopting any new technology in manufacturing
is usually to achieve one or more of the following objectives: produce
more, increase safety, or increase quality—and all at a lower cost.
The good news is that the most important thing a manufacturer needs to
accomplish with any of these objectives is something they already have.
It’s something they’ve had since the moment they opened their doors,
whether that was yesterday or 100 years ago: data.