The Record - Issue 17: Summer 2020

107 need for mass customisation. AI is enabling autonomous operations, automated guided vehicles for material movement and drones for warehouse inspection. Meanwhile, deep reinforcement learning is optimising machine calibration and autonomous operations. Best practices are emerging for device connectivity, data contextualisation and cybersecurity that are accelerating enterprise transformation.” But the pandemic has highlighted that agile manufacturing is an ecosystem that extends across the supply chain too. “Supply chains have come under the spotlight as key enablers of busi- ness resilience,” says Sircar. “Recent events have highlighted the need for greater flexibility to ena- ble safe operation, as the closure of some suppliers to prevent the spread of the virus caused global supply chains to break down. Lockdown meas- ures, as well as sharp shifts in market demand, have also brought short-term profit pressures and investment trade-offs that impeded supply chain resilience. It’s become clear that, to meet the sup- ply and demand challenges manufacturers face, greater synchronisation and visibility is needed throughout the supply chain.” Sircar highlights Microsoft’s partner Blue Yonder’s approach to help manufacturers build supply chain resilience. Its Luminate Control Tower solution, for instance, uses intelligent exception ranking, prioritisation and impact anal- ysis to enable advanced orchestration, collabora- tion andmachine learning (ML)-based resolution capabilities. “With capabilities like these in place, manufacturers can discover, interpret and act “We are seeing accelerated refactoring of lines supported by new systems of intelligence” NE A L ME L DRUM , M I C ROSOF T  MANU FAC TUR I NG & R E SOUR C E S