“The metals industry may be especially vulnerable given that the bulk of its workers are in on-site jobs that cannot be done remotely. Given the nature of the industry, metals manufacturers will need to consider how to create social distancing in workplaces that are typically worker-dense (e.g., mills, warehouses, material movements and logistics, etc.).” Source PWC
Digitalization programs have been spoken about for several years now, and many steel and metals based companies have invested heavily in a digitalization platform. Until very recently they tend to focus on smart computing for information, powering AI with large data sets, allowing block chain to share large volumes of data to be predictive and automatically respond to changes in factors such as consumer behavior. In the heavy metals industries that we currently operate within this is the safe space for digitization. Having introduced automation into our processing lines this was the next logical step and was a safe, continuous advancement in the digitization process.
However, as PWC points out in a post-COVID-19 world it is the manpower associated with warehouse, material movements and logistics which makes the metals sector so vulnerable to a COVID-19 world. So, what about instead of letting computers think for us, how about we enable computers to act more for us?
“This new era will not be about how to eke out continuous improvement, it will be about making radical shifts.” M. Robert Weidner, III, MSCI
With the turn of events arising from COVID-19 there is a lot more discussion around options to work remotely, reduce the labor all operating in one facility or area, so moving forward what is the best way to have our best resources, our people, help us grow from here? Safety for our people is no longer just in reducing the physical dangers in our facilities, it is also creating an environment where the risk of infection is reduced.
“First, we must accept that the next version of normal will not look like January 2020. Disruption of this magnitude demands a new vision, and a new roadmap.” M. Robert Weidner, III, MSCI
So, what is the next step in the unmanned facility of the future and supply chain of the future?
Predominantly the personnel within large steel and other metals facilities are monitoring automated processing lines while personnel on the floor are focused on materials handling for receiving, shipping, and feeding to and taking from processing lines. Many large corporations have centralized their Line Monitoring with centralized control rooms to save costs and manage operations from a distance but this is only a reality if all aspects of the facility are automated.
There are many emerging technologies which are now imperative to the new normal:
All of these things when brought together offer the opportunity to protect our people, but also protect our operations, our investment in our facilities and keep our economy operating. The return on investment for these technologies is no longer based on classic labor reduction, it is the ability to continue operations and function as an organization and has the potential to radically change how we see our metals supply chain.
So, going forward there is an opportunity to embrace those technologies which allow us to continue operations under a variety of conditions. It’s time to move these technologies from emerging technologies to dominant technologies which drive the metals supply chain.
CareGo uses its patented material handing technology to change the world of logistics and supply chain management in the metals and heavy goods sectors all around the globe, continuing to help usher companies into the technological world of tomorrow.
By utilizing CareGo’s TELIA Software, companies can utilize a full state of the art suite of supply chain management autonomous intralogistics systems that uses dynamic decision-making algorithms. By creating these solutions CareGo is changing the way our clients store, handle and ship their raw materials, work in process as well as their finished goods.