Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 76 | Page 35

FEATURE : MANUFACTURING economic zones , and targeted incentives to attract investment and spur innovation in the sector .
Africa also has a thriving start-up ecosystem that has expanded rapidly in recent years . It has created an environment in which tech entrepreneurs and innovators are developing disruptive solutions to address local and regional challenges , resulting in the introduction of several innovative IT solutions tailored to the unique needs of the continent ’ s manufacturing sector .
Another enabler has been the influx of foreign investment into Africa . The increasing interest from international investors and multinational corporations in the continent ’ s manufacturing potential has brought new technologies , best practices , and muchneeded capital to the region . This has facilitated the adoption of advanced technologies and empowered manufacturers to scale up their operations .
Technology has enabled African manufacturers to streamline operations , optimise production processes , and reduce costs . While on one side it has alleviated the need for huge labour pools , it has on the other resulted in the need for skills development and the creation of more strategic job functions .
Benefits of manufacturing execution systems
MES can deliver information on the precise number of parts needed to make a specific number of product units and how long this batch will take to complete . While a human can do the same , MES can do this in real time , allowing for quicker responses and more agile operations . Managers can also track the number of workers and shifts needed to fulfil production demand , thereby calculating scheduling requirements as well .
Real-time visibility
A side-effect of accuracy and speed is the much-lauded capability of real-time visibility . Every business wants it , but it is sometimes elusive . MES has access to the right data at the right moment to add the right insights in the right context . Faster decisions enable quicker responses to a range of happenings , whether on the factory floor or in the markets outside .
MES can play well with other technologies because of its capability of digesting data flexibly . Augmented reality , artificial intelligence , other hardware and software tools can integrate to enrich the overall knowledge ecosystem .
This has increased the demand for skilled professionals and technicians in Africa , helping create job opportunities across the continent and supporting the economic growth and development of individuals .
Additionally , technology has facilitated the exchange of information and best practices among manufacturers in Africa , promoting regional cooperation and integration . To this end , regional value chains have been put in
Automation alone cannot deliver the factory of the future . Human ingenuity is essential . Workers are more attracted to employers who equip them with the latest technology . MES solutions provide interfaces that are so intuitive they can bridge some of the talent gap . They can develop the skills of operators through rich training documentation and multimedia , work instructions and part drawings , process steps , and call for help assistance capabilities .
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