Manufacturing AUTOMATION

ISA position paper emphasizes the role of automation in creating resilient supply chains

March 13, 2024
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has published a new position paper, “Automation Drives the Global Quest for Resilient Supply Chains.”

ISA explains in its paper how the global pandemic and political instability have driven many manufacturers to shift their operations closer to home as they seek to increase efficiencies and reduce supply chain risks.

Many are relying on automation technologies to enable and accelerate this change. Examples include:

  • In warehouses, robots are used to pick and pack orders, load and unload trucks and move inventory.
  • In factories, robots are used to perform tasks such as welding, painting, and assembly.
  •  In transportation, self-driving vehicles are being tested for use in shipping and delivery.
  • In logistics, artificial intelligence is used to optimize routing and scheduling.
  • In customer service, chatbots are used to answer customer questions and resolve issues.

“Many industry sectors are still reeling from expensive lessons learned about supply chain management during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Claire Fallon, ISA executive director. “Several key trends are evident as manufacturers have strived to shorten and strengthen their supply chains, starting with a greater focus on uptime considerations in plant designs. A traditional plant uptime is 95 percent, so even a one percent increase in uptime can be a major boost to the bottom line. This position paper really showcases the importance of a resilient supply chain and the important role that automation technologies and professionals play.”


ISA stresses how manufacturers and other decision-makers can help to deliver the many benefits of automation more effectively through several key steps, including:

  • Supporting the ongoing development of industry standards addressing key aspects of people, processes and technology in automation systems.
  • Encouraging educational institutions to increase the availability of degree programs, courses and training aligned to prepare future automation professionals.
  • Supporting the adoption of certification and certificate programs to strengthen the skills and knowledge of the automation professionals we all depend on.​

“Manufacturers need to reduce their supply chain risks and complexity while continuing to drive down costs in a global marketplace,” said Steve Mustard, past ISA president. “The economic and social challenges we have all faced over the past several years have brought this issue closer to the forefront of business leaders’ minds. ISA believes automation technologies and practices, underpinned by rigorous standards and training, will be key areas of focus for manufacturers.”

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