Business Automation and Software Blog

Lean Automation Gets Sci-Fi: Keep an Eye on These Hot New Technologies

Posted by Robert Baran on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Lean Automation

Lean automation takes it cues from the world of robotics today making it often seem like science fiction rather than business fact. New technologies, such as Sage’s “Peggy” chatbot launched in 2016, are changing how lean automation is implemented in the manufacturing environment.

Sage’s Peggy chatbot responded to simple commands to access the Sage system. You could ask Peggy, “How much do I have this quarter in outstanding receivables?” and she’ll answer you. She acts like a very smart assistant who never tires of your repetitive questions and never needs a day off. She can follow up on your cash flow, orders, accounting, and other tasks with ease.

Peggy and other chatbots demonstrate how technology from other business areas filters into the world of manufacturing, automation, and ERP. Disruptive innovations are all around us and we swim in a sea of rapidly changing technology. Embrace it, and your business stays competitive. Ignore it at your own peril.

Keep Your Eye on These Tech Areas

Sage monitors the marketplace carefully seeking ideas that appeal to their customers. These new and emerging technologies are those which provide the most benefit to customers, especially those in the fields of distribution and manufacturing.

Many of the changes seen today seem superfluous but think of the changes many of us have seen throughout out lifetimes. Cell phones seemed like a mere dream a decade ago; now everyone seems to carry a smartphone with more computer power in that tiny handheld device than the first computers possessed at all. Change is all around us.

The people at Sage have put together a list of the hottest technology innovations to watch in the coming years. While no one can predict which of these will take off, they all show promise to be the next big thing that changes how we do business.

  1. Autonomous interfaces (chatbots). The better that chatbots and autonomous interfaces get at communications, the more they’ll be rolled out and accepted by the public. It may seem odd at first to speak commands to an anonymous system, but chatbots will eventually gain the ability to respond intelligently to simple commands. This transition will seem as natural as the move from manual typewriters to electric ones, then to word processors and computers.
  2. Artificial & collective intelligence. Data collection through the internet of things is making it imperative that larger volumes of data can be handled efficiently. AI and collective intelligence systems can process, sort and distill such data. Systems learn as they go, expanding and increasing the complexity of their neural networks to form new connections like a living organism. The result is a powerful collective intelligence that can be much more than the sum of its parts.
  3. Blockchain technology: Blockchain is an amazing innovation that is transforming the world of finance, and may transform many other worlds, too. Originally used to create, mine, and trade digital currencies such as bitcoin, blockchain is poised to take off as a secure data transfer method with applications beyond the banking and finance world. Insurance, real estate, banking, and even voting online may all use blockchain before the decade is over. Anytime you need secure, anonymous transactions, blockchain is there.
  4. Money transfers: ATM machines once seemed miraculous, but today’s money transfers leave the older ATMs in the dust. Online or virtual banks today enable customers to save, invest, and transfer money quickly and easily without leaving home. With lower overhead and infrastructure, they can afford to pay higher interest. One-click invoicing and automatic bill payments may be readily available to many industries.

No matter how quickly things change, one thing remains certain: technology that can help businesses work faster, cheaper, or better are those that will be quickly adopted. Technology innovations in one business sector may springboard into others if companies can find a use for them. Just as many years ago Edison invented the dictating machine that eventually became the phonograph and today’s MP3 players, so too these ideas and innovations may one day lead a big change in how companies conduct their business. Innovation is all around us driving lean automation and other improvements.

PositiveVision: Sorting Through Change to Find What’s Right for Your Business

PositiveVision provides consulting and services to manufacturing and distribution companies. We can help you sort through the many systems, software, and technological innovations available to match your company with solutions that make it more productive and profitable. Learn more on our website or contact us today.

Topics: Lean Automation