Manufacturing is an industry that is constantly evolving. Manufacturers are being encouraged to be more data driven as part of Industry 4.0 in order to remain competitive and cloud-based systems play a crucial role. Connected intelligent systems in the cloud enable manufacturing to become smarter. Support this with smart sensors and advanced data processing and manufacturing can be more connected and intelligent than ever.

All of the data you capture can be used by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to help you make better decisions. This approach is helping manufacturers in the following areas:

  1. Intelligent systems can be used to analyse large amounts of data and detect anomalies. In manufacturing, this can be used to help identify faulty products, to predict when a machine will need maintenance or to detect potential safety issues in and around a factory. These tools are also being used to help mitigate risk by ensuring regulatory compliance and improving operations, flagging abnormal changes or anomalies for further investigation.
  2. Artificially intelligent systems can be used to organise and classify data in categories. Through classification – sometimes referred to as segmentation or clustering – businesses can leverage AI to sort materials, reconcile transactions, categorise expenses and even look for interactions between categories to identify correlations.
  3. AI systems can be used to run models that allow quick and accurate assessment of how manufacturing systems and processes perform. This enables to test how changes to specific variables will impact outcomes, for example, how making changes to the production line will impact output or how adjustments to a product formula will alter product performance.

These tools can be used to optimise systems, processes and decision making, through real-time data analysis. Intelligence systems can calculate the probability of various outcomes and adjust accordingly. For example, analytical models can be used to reduce injuries by slowing down a machine when a sensor identifies a potential issue, or it can cut costs by automatically changing resource allocation across the organisation to minimise waste.

Microsoft solutions for Manufacturing

In order to take full advantage of these trends’ manufacturers need to have the right infrastructure in place. Microsoft offers a suite of solutions to support manufacturers, including:

  • Dynamics 365 for Finance and OperationsDynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is Microsoft’s back office business application, built on Microsoft Azure cloud services. It unifies financials and business operations across finance, manufacturing, supply chain, warehouse, stock and transportation management with an intelligent and intuitive user interface for running modern global enterprises. Find out more about manufacturing with Finance and Operations.
  • Azure IoTMicrosoft Azure offers a wide range of out of the box services such as connected factory, predictive maintenance and remote monitoring services. These services are designed to help manufacturers manage all of your data and Iot services. These include connected factory, predictive maintenance and remote monitoring services.  Discover the full range of Azure IoT services.


Discover more in our guide to the Future of Manufacturing with Microsoft.