Recovering – Targeted implementation of individual ML use cases, e.g. to reduce costs
In the second phase, the aims are to revive the business and to restructure the investment plans. The goal of this phase remains cost optimisation. For example, quality, efficiency or productivity can be increased. Initiatives for automation and digitalisation will be reviewed and measures reprioritised. In this phase, it is worthwhile to identify specific Machine Learning use cases that make a particular contribution to reducing costs. It is best to start with a lean process analysis in an interdisciplinary team.
Take the example of automated quality control using computer vision: with automated image control and new unsupervised ML approaches, defects down to the smallest scratches in product surfaces can be detected quickly and reliably, even if a system has never seen them before. Alternatively, semantic segmentation can be used to map image elements with pixel accuracy, which in a second step contributes to the measurement of objects. The dimensions of gaps, for example, or the rates at which liquids spread out can thus be measured and assessed in real time. Today, these possibilities compete with laser-based processes, but are often more cost-effective, faster and can be applied more flexibly.
In the analysis, it pays to think holistically. Potential use cases can be found in the reduction of production rejects, in improved service management through an increased first-fix rate or in areas completely unrelated to production processes.
It can also be worthwhile to automate the preparation of quotations. Significant cost reductions are possible here, if individual quotations have to be prepared again and again even for the smallest production parts. An algorithm can translate the customer enquiry directly into a quotation, which an employee then only has to approve. This is a win-win situation: for the end customer, because he finds out more quickly whether he will get his tailor-made product and how much it will cost, and for the supplier, because the sales team can concentrate on the really interesting cases. The throughput of quotations is thus increased many times over.
It is therefore worthwhile in this phase to examine the entire value-added chain for weak points and to rectify these in a purposeful and targeted manner.