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Manufacturing technology solutions business looks to be a leader with Industry 4.0 and integration of Open AI in its platform
This article was updated in April 2023.
“Every day is my best day.” Those are the words David Yanez, CEO of Andonix, lives by.
Yanez and the team at Andonix hope to make every day the best day for manufacturing employees around the world through their efforts to provide technology solutions that serve the needs of frontline workers, improve operational performance for customers and promote the advancement of sustainable development goals.
In June 2021, the Industry 4.0 Accelerator – the nation's first Industry 4.0- specific accelerator – announced its direct investment in Andonix. Andonix received funds to support their work as a disruptor in the Industry 4.0 space, which targets manufacturing businesses working toward integrating next-generation technology into the workplace. The company utilized the grants to perform market research and improve their overall sales and marketing strategies.
Prior to connecting with MEDC, Andonix saw success attracting resources and partners outside of Michigan, but were lacking that engagement from the Michigan community, especially from the investor point of view. With Michigan being one of the most important manufacturing capitals of the world, Yanez knew making that local connection was essential to reach the scaling-up stage for his business.
“MEDC is great at understanding how to grow and diversify our economy by supporting what is already in Michigan, which is the manufacturing industry,” said Yanez. “Their programs are built on understanding the communities that need to unite to create success, and they made it happen for us at Andonix.”
When looking forward to the future, Andonix has three main goals: positivity impacting people, creating a more sustainable planet and generating revenue to reinvest on their growth.
“Andonix is on a mission to empower frontline workers to hold machines and processes accountable, thus enabling manufacturing companies to do more with less. For us, that’s impact,” said Yanez. “We believe that we can change the way people work and make manufacturing sexy. In order to get one win, you have to fail 10 times. This is our time to win!”
Yanez says his vision is about enabling an equitable and sustainable future for the manufacturing community. His work with the Industry 4.0 Signature Initiative has helped move the needle for Andonix’s goals, and the future is bright.
In 2023, Andonix has done just that, by investing in the latest technologies and moving its operations into the future with the integration of Open AI in its platform. Open AI created an artificial intelligence (AI) language model that can understand and generate human-like text in multiple languages to help people find information the system has been trained on. Their ChatGPT interface has become an instant sensation.
“At Andonix, we saw an opportunity to create an AI-powered personal digital assistant called ‘Andi,’ leveraging Open AI’s technology so that workers and staff in companies can prompt and solicit the information they need at any moment to solve problems,” said Oliver Theiss, Chief Revenue Officer at Andonix. “Studies from McKinsey and the Society of Automation show that the lack of prompt resolution of problems in manufacturing companies causes industry losses of $650 billion annually. Andonix enables clients to avoid being part of this statistic by enabling workers and staff to leverage AI to reduce machine downtime, accelerate the response to problems, reduce the impact of quality issues, and drive up factory-wide productivity.”
Andonix connects workers with their machines and supervisors through an alarm, escalation and collaboration platform to quickly identify, track and resolve operating problems and hold machines and processes accountable. The Andonix solution leverages a social media-like interface with a native chat and structured chat-bot communication module, called “the Digital Andon,” and a workflow module that enables the creation of any content which usually exists on paper in factories in the form of work instructions and checklists. Users can already decide how to read and receive communication originating within these modules, with options including WhatsApp, SMS text and email.
Theiss says that a tech rollout within factories is easy, thanks to the social media-like interface and minimal learning curve on the key features of the Andonix platform. Andonix is offering the system starting at $250 per month, so virtually even the smallest companies can leverage its solution. “We can make this A.I. capability available for any company, regardless of size and scope. There is no onboarding difficulty, no learning curve – just instant access to value,” Theiss said.
“Andi” users don’t need to wait for their company data to be captured in the system before they can leverage the embedded knowledge in Open AI, leading to instant value. Open AI trained the algorithm across the internet, enabling teams to access information on safety, regulations, material specifications, quality protocols, best practices and more. HR can even leverage “Andi” to write training and onboarding materials for workers.
Following the rollout of the digital assistant “Andi” and its capabilities, Andonix clients report an increase in the speed at which they can resolve day-to-day problems that are common in factories, including unplanned machine downtime situations, quality issues, maintenance, training, re-skilling, safety risks and more. “This all translates into higher levels of productivity,” said Theiss. “One great example is one of our clients who reduced unplanned machine downtime by 9,000 hours per quarter, translating into savings of $818,000.”
Looking toward the future of Open AI implementation, Andonix sees “incredible potential” across a variety of areas, from process automation and predictive maintenance to employee training, quality control and product development.
As part of the company’s mission of benefiting frontline workers and helping companies of all sizes leverage technology, Andonix sees the incorporation of A.I. as another opportunity to achieve those goals.
“A.I. is a game changer if we use it with kindness and goodness and aim to augment people, not replace them,” said Theiss. “If frontline workers are more productive and create more value for their companies, they should also be able to capture more value. Technology can make this possible. Just like Google knows where you are, where you shop, what you buy, and what you eat, A.I. can augment and highlight individual worker value to empower them to advance and improve their opportunities to grow and claim their share of the American dream.”
Industry 4.0 is the next phase in advanced manufacturing automation. To learn how MEDC can help your manufacturing business find resources and services to prepare for the future, visit www.michiganbusiness.org/industry4-0/.