February 8, 2023   //   Business Consulting International   //   By PKF Mueller Solutions


PKF Mueller has been specializing in working with manufacturing companies for over 50 years. Many changes have occurred over the years, and with the labor shortages and logistics challenges, companies are looking towards technology to deal with these challenges and to become more competitive. Manufacturing companies are automating the manufacturing processes with new technologies and using technology to schedule more effective workflow throughout the manufacturing facility and operations. This will result in a much higher output from the manufacturing facility with the same cost, resulting in a higher gross profit for the company.

From the years dating back to 1913, when Henry Ford utilized technologies of the industrial revolution period to pioneer his first moving production/ assembly line for optimization of manufacturing time and cost, to the third industrial revolution of the 1970’s shift from analog to digital technology, we now find ourselves moving into the fourth industrial revolutionary period where Industry 4.0 is powering smart manufacturing to achieve efficiencies by digitizing all areas of production and staying ahead of the curve.

As we forge into the future, we find companies moving away from analog technology and digitizing their processes. Industry 4.0 technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), VR (Virtual Reality), cloud computing, and Analytics are utilized by manufacturing processes such as Hybrid manufacturing, CNC Machining, Robotics, simulation, 3D Printing & scanning, which allows for decentralization with real-time communication for decision making between processes. The results are facility capacity utilization, increased productivity, manufacturing flexibility, smarter, safer, and more efficient processes while optimizing how we utilize a skilled workforce and perform remote training.

Imagine a process where component images are 3D virtually modeled, digitized, wirelessly sent to CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) software systems which simulate the component, then generates the CNC (Computer Numerical Code) G-Code with a tooling list required for production. The data is then transferred via the internet to a manufacturing facility, where robotic systems receive instructions within the data, set up CNC machines for production, perform inspection process for critical dimensions, and communicate the results back to the CAD/CAM software for any changes, where the process is repeated until a satisfactory component is produced for production to begin.

Now, imagine a process in production where sensors detect excessive heat building up in the system, so it’s automatically shut down, and the onsite maintenance engineer is alerted. With the assistance of offsite specialists using virtual reality eyewear, the maintenance engineer is guided firsthand during the repair process as if the specialist was onsite. Critical machine damage is prevented, downtime has been reduced, and productivity is increased.

The fourth industrial revolution will also impact workforce training and education for countries worldwide. A demand for a highly skilled specialized workforce is inevitable, and countries that are unable to provide the appropriate training and education are certain to be left behind. In the United States, we’re finding TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) centers focusing on school-based and workbased learning of specialized techniques for highly skilled workers currently in the field.

PKF Mueller is at the forefront of this new industrial revolution and has been assisting manufacturing companies as they navigate through new technologies and efficiencies in their industry. The future in manufacturing will be very different and doing things the same old way will not be the smart course of action.

Change is inevitable, and PKF Mueller can assist in developing the new manufacturing game plan.

Amy Chamoun, CPA, MST
Partner, International Consulting Services
PKF Mueller