Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to change the world, and we’re here to tell you how.

Plant operations is one of the most critical areas of all manufacturing—it’s where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. In fact, injuries in manufacturing are among the top 3 across industries in the United States [Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor]. That’s why AI is so important for plant operations: it allows companies to improve safety, reduce costs, increase production, and meet sustainability goals.

Here are a few examples of the most promising areas for AI growth in the coming years.

  • Managing energy consumption and usage.
  • Managing inventory levels.
  • Identifying root cause.
  • Predicting maintenance needs.
  • Recommending performance optimization.

While it is expected to improve the operating conditions in a plant, Can it truly deliver on that promise? Well… let’s find out!

The role of humans in future plant operations.

Humans have always been a part of the production process. From the seed to the shelf, humans are responsible for every step along the way.

In the past, it was not uncommon for companies to hire workers to do all of their plant operations, large scale or small. However, as companies have become more automated, they have begun to rely on software and robotics, be it in the supply chain or handling raw materials. Humans will continue to play a vital role in the future of plant operations. We must understand how humans are already involved in this process because it can help us set realistic expectations for technology. The role of humans in future plant operations includes the manufacturing process and setting realistic expectations for technology. 

Applying technology to the manufacturing process.

AI is a tool, and humans are the ones setting the goals. AI can be used to help humans execute their processes more efficiently, but it will never be able to replace them entirely. Rather than replacing humans, AI will be used as an additional resource that complements human capabilities and allows for greater adaptability in today’s dynamic manufacturing environment.

As we move forward with this technology, it is important that we do not lose sight of its limitations or potential benefits—especially when considering its impact on plant operations.

For example, Production line quality inspection in real-time, which is typically time-consuming, can be accelerated with the aid of computer vision, paving the way for autonomous operations.

Setting realistic expectations for the technology.

AI is not a silver bullet. Setting realistic expectations for the technology is essential, especially considering how it will impact your business. For example, if you’ve heard about robots that can replace human resources in manufacturing plants and warehouses, this may be exciting news for some organizations but not for others.

In fact, many companies are using AI technology as part of their plant operations today—and they’re doing so with great success! Here are a few examples: ai-based predictive maintenance solutions with the help of machine learning algorithms can monitor the entire manufacturing plant with sensors, and due to computing power, can process billions of data points to predict when maintenance is required on both critical and non-critical assets.

AI is the tool, but humans set the goals.

AI is a tool that helps humans achieve their goals. If a plant manager wants to improve efficiency, they can use machine learning to identify opportunities for improvement: what does your equipment do well? What does it need work on? How can we use automation to address these problems?

The best way for humans and AI teams alike is to think about how all of this information could be useful in real-life situations rather than just as raw data or numbers.


The future of plant operations will be a mix of technology and people. AI is the tool that helps us get there, but it’s up to humans to set realistic goals and make the most of the technology.