Let’s see AI in action

May 14, 2024

Did you miss our latest AI 101 in Manufacturing event? No problem! In this article, we’ve summarised the top take outs from the session to keep you up to speed.  

Hosted in Bruntwood SciTech’s Platform space in Leeds, our event focused on practical uses for artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of manufacturing. From generating new business to reducing downtime, we explored a range of opportunities available, all presented by a panel of expert speakers.

Here are the headlines...

Where can businesses start with AI?

Ultimately, the AI solutions you decide to utilise in your business should depend on your individual requirements. However, for manufacturing businesses, generative AI is a great subset to explore when beginning your journey. 

Whilst the previous generation of AI focussed on recognition and classification, generative AI can create new images, video and text based on its extensive knowledge base. Within generative AI, Large Language Models (or LLMs) can be an especially fruitful genre to focus on. 

What is a Large Language Model (LLM)?

LLMs (such as ChatGPT) can be used to generate text, usually in the form of conversations or content. Accessible to the public, they can be used to provide gift ideas, create poetry or even plan your holidays. In businesses, when utilised correctly, the technology can also enhance a variety of tasks, from marketing to machine management. 

What do I need to know about LLMs?

Every technology has its pros and cons, especially in the early years of its development, however there are some key factors to consider.

The opportunities

  • Using LLMs can help you gain quick and convenient access to a very extensive knowledge base. It’s estimated that the LLM behind ChatGPT has been trained on text equivalent to 130 million books. To put that into context, the British Library is estimated to hold 14 million books. 

  • LLMS are versatile problem solvers. Not only can they respond to a range of queries but they can also work around spelling mistakes and interpret your intentions (to a point). 

The limitations

  • The data used by mainstream LLMs is limited. For example, an LLM could  have been trained using data up until December 2023 and won’t know what happened in the world yesterday. Equally, it won’t understand how your organisation operates or know details such as sensitive product information.  

  • LLMs have capability limits and are not very good at solving complex, mathematical problems. 

  • It’s also worth noting that LLMs can behave like bratty teenagers, they may not know the correct answer to your question but they’re going to say something back anyway. As such, it pays to utilise the technology alongside talented and experienced colleagues that can provide context and common sense for every outcome.  

How do businesses make the most of LLMs?

In order to overcome the limitations of LLMs, we recommend augmenting their capabilities and knowledge. This involves working with companies like Seeai to enhance the original LLM, perhaps by providing it with additional company-specific information or instructing it to perform new tasks. This allows you to tailor the LLMs outputs to suit your needs and can be done whilst protecting confidential information where required.  

How can generative AI be used to help drive sales growth for manufacturing businesses?

To help inspire ideas amongst our audience, Seeai’s Saile started the session showcasing three different uses for LLMs within the manufacturing industry.

  1. Application exploration 

    Once you’ve augmented and trained an LLM to understand a product and its properties, you can then teach it to generate ideas for new applications or potential markets for that product. This helps maximise any research and development work you undertake and ensures a better return on your investment. 

  2. Addressing the skills gap in manufacturing

    In every successful organisation, there are experienced and knowledgeable individuals that drive the business forward. However, if those individuals are stretched across the organisation (or they leave the business), it can cause major issues if their knowledge is not efficiently documented. LLMs can bring all the expert knowledge that’s buried in your business together in one accessible place. This enables you to provide instant access to it and extract insights from it. 

    What’s more, the process of capturing that expertise can be automated by technology too. Extracting information from a range of scattered resources is now quicker than ever thanks to LLMs. Past meeting transcripts, email chains and digital documents can all be used to train and extend the knowledge of the LLMs.  You can even use optical character recognition (OCR) technology alongside generative AI to digitise physical materials and feed it to the LLMs as well. As a result, every piece of content you create can be harnessed in a form that benefits your entire organisation.

  3. Automating the data wrangling process 

    Distributors often have product content files that can contain up to thousands of rows of unvalidated product data. Using AI agents that utilise LLMs, we can automate the product research process completely and save hours of valuable team time for more fitting tasks. This same automation can be used for gathering shipping information, enriching customer records and much more.

Top tips for implementing generative AI

  • Recognise the role of AI, it will help to increase productivity and automate routine tasks, but it needs to be balanced with human expertise and critique.

  • Know that the more value you want to get out of generative AI, the more you need to invest in it. Whilst free LLMs can be used for your initial exploration, real business value comes when you can augment that technology and tailor it to your business. 

  • Explore today to prepare for tomorrow. We’re at a very exciting time for AI and everyone is working hard to find the one big breakthrough application for the technology. Companies that start their journey today, taking the time to familiarise themselves with generative AI and understand it, will be sure to gain an advantage in the future. 

How can we use AI to power sales and new business?

Michelle Veasey is the CEO at My Growth Engine, a company on a mission to help small businesses harness the power of big-budget marketing strategies. Speaking at the event, she shared her experience of securing sales through AI and gave three examples of how the technology can be used to help you improve the sales process and communication with customers.

  1. Speed to lead

    According to Michelle, a lead is 100x more likely to convert if it’s responded to in the first five minutes. She also stressed that, in today’s society, customers want to be able to raise their queries 24/7, not just during their busy working day. 

    The good news is carefully trained AI tools can help meet these expectations, and reduce the impact on customer sales teams by extending the window of communication and reducing lead times. Not only is this communication quick but it can be controlled too. From tone of voice to closing techniques, chatbots can be trained to reply in a style that suits your business. You can also dictate the information you deem it appropriate to share at each stage, whether it’s booking an appointment to speak to your trained team or directing people to frequently asked questions. 

  2. Turning cold into gold

    Many organisations have large sales databases, that they have either bought or collated over time, that can prove difficult to access or convert into leads. This is largely because they feature old or incorrect data, such as outdated addresses or contacts that have moved on. 

    AI can be used to update and enrich this data effectively and efficiently, saving hours of human effort in the process. And, once you have a more fruitful foundation in place, LLMs can also be utilised to create personalised content for outreach. This allows your business to increase its new business reach, response times and relevance with ease. 

  3. Social selling

    When done correctly, social selling can be an extremely effective alternative to traditional cold calling. This technique focuses on building relationships online. It involves celebrating your colleagues as experts in their fields, working with the algorithms to reach the right people and then taking fruitful sales conversations offline. 

When coupled with expertise and experience, the introduction of generative AI allows companies to improve their social selling process in a number of ways.

  • It streamlines the time-consuming process of personalised content creation.

  • It helps maintain content quality and posting consistency to support inbound enquiries.

  • It allows you to research your audiences and the type of content they’re more likely to respond to.

Top tips for integrating AI in your sales process

  • When implementing new AI technology in your sales process, work with an organisation that is GDPR and ICO compliant to ensure you access data in the correct manner. 

  • Simply asking an LLM like ChatGPT to write a social post or create a sales strategy is not enough, you should be working with experts that can help you critique, prompt and tailor the technology to ensure you get the right result. 

How can AI support your business growth?

Stephen Fieldhouse is the Director of FIFY, an independent business process and innovation consultancy helping businesses make impactful decisions to improve outcomes. Based on his experience of helping businesses transform through technology, as well as his work on behalf of investors, he shared three ways AI can enable companies to evolve.

  1. Access to funding

    Embracing technology can open up lots of opportunities for your business, including access to additional funding that can be used for expansion. There’s a wealth of investors out there currently looking to support those embracing new technology and ideas. Funding can also be accessed through the government and corporate grants, so it’s important to identify all your options.

  2. Improved understanding of your markets

    AI can support you in collating data that provides you with a better understanding of your audience, your marketplace and the external factors you need to be aware of. By understanding the challenges or opportunities you face, you can prepare and empower your business for the path ahead and grow in line with market changes. 

  3. Refining operations 

    By streamlining processes and enabling data-driven decisions, AI can help refine your operations. With every change you introduce, there can also be a ripple effect across the wider business and this collective efficiency will support your future growth.  

So, there you have it, the bitesize edition of what we hope was a very informative and inspirational session for everyone that attended. We’d like to thank our fantastic speakers for bringing a wealth of expertise and examples to share as well as those that joined us for making it such an insightful event. 

If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about Seeai, our future events or how we help businesses drive sales growth through artificial intelligence, please do get in touch.

Event Sponsor

A huge thank you to our sponsor Bruntwood Scitech. Bruntwood SciTech is the country’s leading developer of city-wide innovation ecosystems, and the largest dedicated property platform for the UK knowledge economy. Alongside a 50-year track record in the property industry, we bring a wealth of experience in creating and developing strategic partnerships with UK regional cities, universities and NHS Trusts.

Offering premium office and lab space, a range of scientific services and specialist business support, we are perfectly placed to help companies - particularly those in the science and technology sectors - to form, scale and grow.

To find out more or if you'd fancy a tour around the building, please contact Katherine Megson at katherine.megson@bruntwood.co.uk.

Seeai LTD.

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Seeai LTD.

All rights reserved.

Find us

Platform, New Station St, LS1 4JB, Leeds, UK info@seeai.co.uk

Seeai LTD.

All rights reserved.

Find us

Platform, New Station St, LS1 4JB, Leeds, UK info@seeai.co.uk