Manufacturing Industry Revolution Using NLP

Discover how natural language processing (NLP) is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, boosting efficiency and streamlining processes.

Improving Manufacturing Efficiency Through NLP

Can NLP actually help in manufacturing? Is that so important? In fact, yes. 

NLP uncovers a real treasure of data that is often overlooked or thought of as not relevant. These are the reports, you’ve forgotten about for 10 years already, 5 thousand e-mails in your inbox, meeting notes, archives, angry emojis on your Facebook page, etc. When used wisely, this data can actually make you richer. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how NLP can transform overlooked, irrelevant data into valuable assets, particularly emphasizing the strategic move to hire a data scientist  to leverage these opportunities fully.

Understanding the Role of NLP in Manufacturing

Defining NLP and Its Functions

Natural Language Processing, or NLP, is a branch of artificial intelligence that reads and deciphers human language. It enables computers to understand, analyze, and respond to say or type in a meaningful way.

To cut it short, NLP may be described as AI that reads. And it can read huge amounts of data at an unprecedented speed. Moreover, it’s not just about reading, it is also able to extract any information you need and present it in a user-friendly way. For example, you would like to know how your audience reacted to a product you’re advertising. You may go read the comments, or you may run an NLP algorithm to scrap all the online mentions of your product across platforms and present the general sentiment about it in a visual chart.

Use case 1: Salesforce, one of the world’s largest SaaS platforms,implemented an NLP-based social media listening tool , Sprout Social, in August 2022. That didn’t just offer their social media team better insights on customer feedback to their products but also saved them 12000 hours of working time in the first year after implementing social media listening. Max Benesi, Salesforce’s Associate Manager of social media and community, said: “It’s so important to measure engagement to ensure we continue creating content our audience loves. With Sprout, we can do that quickly—reporting out at any time so we always know where things stand.”

Interested in an NLP product with a functionality like described above? 

Contact eNest, and our specialist will give you all the details you need to know to start your AI project. You’ll learn the steps you need to take, the project’s cost and timeline, and the desired outcome to expect. Book a call now and get your consultation for free! 

Defining NLP and Its Functions

The functionality described is possible thanks to one of the key components of NLP, that is sentiment analysis. It involves determining the emotional tone behind a piece of text. In the context of manufacturing, sentiment analysis can be used to gauge customer satisfaction levels. This valuable information can help manufacturers tailor their products and services to better meet customer needs and preferences.

The Intersection of NLP and Manufacturing

As we’ve mentioned, the manufacturing industry generates vast textual data, including production reports, customer feedback, and quality inspection records. NLP can be applied to analyze and derive actionable insights from this data, enabling manufacturers to make more informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.

Use case 2: The world’s leading automotive manufacturer and dealer, Volvo, developed a daring ambition to encourage its customers to share details on their individual customer experiences and an even more daring ambition to collect all of their comments and act on them responsively. So, Volvo partnered with InMoment , a company providing an NLP-based solution to design an action planning module “to affect real change across the organisation at each dealership,” as they say. As a result, the company’s customer support was able to act on each customer comment individually. That led Volvo to winning an award for the  Best Customer Experience Transformation, in 2019 CX Elite Awards.

Another benefit NLP provides is the reduction of human errors and the improvement of overall operational efficiency.

Furthermore, NLP can be crucial in predictive maintenance within manufacturing facilities. By analyzing maintenance logs and equipment reports, NLP algorithms can predict potential equipment failures before they occur. This proactive approach helps minimize downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and optimize production schedules, ultimately leading to increased manufacturer productivity and profitability.

Use case 3: In manufacturing, maintenance reports and fault reports are usually presented in the form of numeric tables, where workers enter data manually. Marvin Carl May and his team from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, raised an important concern: the most valuable employee knowledge in manufacturing is often rendered textually, and thus, is skipped in maintenance reports. Therefore, this team of scientists offered an NLP-based solution to leverage textual data in manufacturing. They tested their solution for predicting the downtime of machine stops based on text comments from machine operators and alarm and events (A&E) data from mechanical equipment and proved that NLP of handwritten notes by floor workers can help considerably in prediction of incidents.

The Impact of NLP on Manufacturing Efficiency

Streamlining Production Processes with NLP

Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology offers advanced tools to analyze production data. By leveraging NLP algorithms, manufacturers can uncover hidden insights that can drive more efficiency. In addition to identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies, NLP can also predict potential issues before they arise, allowing for proactive adjustments to be made in real time.

Use case 4: If a company accidentally issues a line of damaged products, it’s vital to get repots on the malfunctioning early on to act proactively. Perhaps, the loudest case with of selling damaged products was the story with Samsung Note 7 catching fire. In case the first mentions of the product’s malfunctioning were scrapped and reported in time, the company could have avoided such a situation. Today’s NLP products like NVIDIA DeepStream SDK, NVIDIA Riva, Triton Server, TensorRT, CUDA allow for such functionality.

Streamlining Production Processes with NLP

Furthermore, NLP can assist in automating routine tasks such as data entry, report generation, and analysis.

Use case 5: According to, workers in manufacturing spend about 76 hours per month searching for and combining information from different sources. An NLP-reasoning tool like Elicit, developed by a San Francisco company called Ought, can help researchers find information in minutes . Elicit is a dream tool for every researcher. It can summarize search information and build up literature reviews.

By automating processes like research or reporting, manufacturers can free up valuable human resources to focus on more strategic initiatives, innovation, and problem-solving. This shift towards automation increases operational efficiency and reduces the likelihood of human error.

Enhancing Quality Control through NLP

Quality control lies at the heart of manufacturing excellence, and NLP offers a powerful solution to elevate this crucial aspect of operations. By harnessing the capabilities of NLP to analyze diverse sources of unstructured data, such as customer feedback, warranty claims, and product reviews, manufacturers can gain comprehensive insights into product performance and customer satisfaction levels. This data-driven approach enables manufacturers to swiftly identify trends, patterns, and anomalies that may impact product quality.

Moreover, NLP can facilitate the implementation of preventive measures to address quality issues proactively. By flagging potential concerns early on, manufacturers can take corrective actions to uphold stringent quality standards, mitigate risks, and uphold their reputation for delivering superior products. Ultimately, the integration of NLP in quality control processes ensures compliance with industry regulations and fosters a culture of continuous improvement and innovation within manufacturing organizations.

Implementing NLP in Your Manufacturing Operations

Steps to Integrate NLP into Manufacturing

Implementing Natural Language Processing (NLP) in manufacturing operations requires careful planning and execution. By leveraging the power of NLP, manufacturers can gain valuable insights from textual data and optimize their processes. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Define objectives: Clearly define the goals and objectives you want to achieve through NLP implementation, such as improving production efficiency or enhancing quality control. Having a clear vision will guide your implementation strategy.
  2. Identify relevant data sources: To effectively implement NLP, it is crucial to identify the sources of textual data within your manufacturing operations. These sources may include production reports, customer feedback, and quality inspection records. By pinpointing these sources, you can ensure that you capture the right data for analysis.
  3. Implement data collection: Once you have identified the relevant data sources, the next step is to set up processes to collect and store the data in a structured format. This will enable easy access and analysis by NLP algorithms, ensuring that you can extract meaningful insights.
  4. Choose appropriate NLP techniques: NLP encompasses a wide range of techniques and algorithms. It is important to select the ones that are most suited to your specific manufacturing needs. For example, sentiment analysis can help you gauge customer satisfaction, while text classification can assist in categorizing customer feedback for targeted improvements.
  5. Train and fine-tune models: To achieve accurate and meaningful insights, it is essential to train and fine-tune NLP models on your specific manufacturing data. This process involves using machine learning techniques to optimize the models for your unique context. By doing so, you can ensure that the models understand the nuances of your manufacturing operations.
  6. Integrate NLP into existing systems: Seamless integration of NLP capabilities into your existing manufacturing systems is crucial for maximizing the benefits. Whether it is quality control systems or production management software, incorporating NLP will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of these systems.
  7. Monitor and evaluate results: Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the results generated by NLP implementation are vital. This allows you to identify areas for further improvement and optimize the system accordingly. By keeping a close eye on the outcomes, you can ensure that your NLP implementation is delivering the desired results.

Overcoming Challenges in NLP Implementation

While NLP holds immense potential for improving manufacturing efficiency, there are several challenges to be aware of. By addressing these challenges, you can maximize the effectiveness of your NLP implementation. Some common challenges include:

  • Data quality and availability: Ensuring that the data used for NLP analysis is of sufficient quality and availability can be a challenge. Manufacturing operations generate vast amounts of data, and it is crucial to have robust data collection processes in place. This includes data cleansing and validation to ensure accurate analysis.
  • Lack of domain-specific models: NLP models may struggle with domain-specific language and jargon commonly used in manufacturing. However, this challenge can be overcome by training and fine-tuning models on relevant manufacturing data. Training NLP models on your own data is a new trend among companies implementing AI into their operations. IT vendors like eNest Technologies often and provide help for businesses wishing to fine-tune NLP for the needs of their companies. 
  • By exposing the models to the specific language and terminology used in your industry, you can enhance their accuracy and effectiveness.
  • Interpretability of results: NLP techniques can sometimes produce results that are difficult to interpret or explain. To address this challenge, it is important to ensure that the insights generated by NLP are actionable and meaningful. This can be achieved by working closely with domain experts and refining the models to provide clear and concise outputs.
  • Privacy and security concerns: Working with textual data requires careful consideration of privacy and security concerns, especially when handling customer data or sensitive information. It is crucial to implement robust data protection measures and adhere to relevant regulations to safeguard the privacy and security of the data.

By understanding and addressing these challenges, manufacturers can unlock the full potential of NLP and revolutionize their operations. With the right implementation strategy and a focus on continuous improvement, NLP can drive significant advancements in manufacturing efficiency and quality.

Future Trends of NLP in Manufacturing

Predicted Advancements in NLP Technology

The field of NLP is constantly evolving, and several advancements are expected to shape its future in manufacturing. These include:

  • Improved language understanding: NLP models will continue to improve in their ability to understand and interpret nuanced human language, including domain-specific terminology.
  • Real-time analysis: NLP algorithms will become faster and more efficient, enabling real-time analysis of textual data during manufacturing processes.
  • Voice recognition: NLP will increasingly incorporate voice recognition capabilities, enabling hands-free interaction with manufacturing systems and improving efficiency on the shop floor.
  • Advanced analytics: NLP will be integrated with advanced analytics techniques, such as machine learning and predictive modeling, to provide more accurate and actionable insights.

The Long-term Benefits of NLP in Manufacturing

By harnessing the power of NLP, manufacturers can unlock a range of long-term benefits, including:

  • Increased efficiency: NLP can help manufacturers identify and eliminate bottlenecks, streamline processes, and reduce production time and costs.
  • Improved product quality: By analyzing customer feedback and proactively addressing quality issues, NLP can lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Enhanced decision-making: NLP insights can provide manufacturers with a deeper understanding of their operations, enabling data-driven decision-making and effective resource allocation.
  • Competitive advantage: Companies that successfully implement NLP in their manufacturing operations can gain a competitive edge by being more efficient, agile, and responsive to customer needs.

In conclusion, NLP has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry by improving efficiency, enhancing quality control, and enabling data-driven decision-making. As manufacturers face increasing pressure to stay competitive, implementing NLP in their operations can provide them with a significant advantage. By understanding the role of NLP in manufacturing, the impact it can have on efficiency, the steps to implement NLP, and the future trends shaping the industry, manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve and drive their businesses toward greater success.

Interested in building a proprietary NLP solution to boost your business with the power of AI? 

Contact eNest with a free consultation and advice! You will be able to discuss your idea in a one-on-one call with our specialist and learn everything you need to start a project. Book your free call now! 

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Have a question?

Speak to Data Scientist
Jagdeep Chawla

MS in Data Science
NorthWestern Univeristy, Illinois

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