As you grow your manufacturing business, you’re probably focusing on making continuous improvements to your business processes to increase your profitability. Have you thought about how emerging technologies can help you get there?
Many of your competitors are embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). To keep up, you’ll need to do the same. But you won’t get far without a connected manufacturing platform.
The Missing Links
You may have already installed an ERP system, a manufacturing execution system (MES), and some level of shop floor automation in your facilities. You may also be controlling your equipment with a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solution.
ERP, MES, and shop floor automation are an essential foundation to any manufacturing business. But if these systems are installed on-premise, they’re likely storing their data in separate silos, which makes it hard to access the data for business analysis.
For years, manufacturers have tried to work around this challenge by building integrations between their systems. But these integrations can be difficult and costly to maintain, and they tend to break when the underlying systems are updated.
That’s where a cloud-based connected manufacturing platform comes in. It’s designed to be the “hub” that connects top floor and shop floor systems so that everybody can use business data in their applications.
Connected manufacturing is also essential to your ability to benefit from IIoT. Because IIoT involves thousands of new data streams, a system that can model this data against your business information becomes critical. Don’t create more data for data’s sake—be sure you can measure the bottom-line impact of what’s happening on your shop floor and throughout your supply chain. A connected manufacturing system—one that connects ERP, MES, and shop floor automation systems—is where the greatest opportunity to benefit from the influx of data lies.
Focus on These Key Business Drivers
Too many manufacturers try to embrace IIoT by installing new connected devices and then hoping they deliver business value. You can get much greater value by taking the opposite approach: think about the business improvements you want to make, and then figure out how IIoT—through connected devices, systems, processes, and people—can help you get there.
Focus on achieving measurable improvements in areas such as:
● Resource usage
● Asset utilization
● Inventory holdings
● Cost of quality
● Customer service levels
● Time to market
The overall goal is to transform your company into a truly nimble manufacturing organization that can make smart, data-driven decisions in response to new business challenges and opportunities.
Decision Support at a Glance
As your production line moves, your team will monitor the flow and consumption of inventory, measure production throughput, and track product quality. In days gone by, this information was all recorded on paper and filed away—or perhaps punched into a system—at the end of a shift. Today, sensors can capture this data and report it automatically to your operations team in real time.
Connected manufacturing allows you to take things one step further. By giving you a dashboard view of the health of your entire business, connected manufacturing enables your managers and executives to make timely, strategic decisions that can increase your profitability.
To learn more about how to move toward a connected manufacturing platform, download The Definitive Guide to Connected Manufacturing.