Agility, visibility and insight are among the core drivers of success for manufacturing plants. These attributes are what enable plants to cut costs while adhering to increasingly stringent compliance standards, boosting overall performance, and delivering more and better-quality products in less time.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers today are hampered by isolated, complicated business systems that slow down processes and impede operations. According to market research firm IDC, companies lose 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year due to inefficiencies. Still, many businesses continue to “get by” with their existing systems and applications even though they are often a performance drag.
Growing supply chain complexity has added to the challenge, making it more difficult to bridge the physical distance between enterprise-level decision making and plant floor execution systems. While the many information-generating systems within today’s plants are vital to the functional areas they support, these systems are typically isolated and detached, restricting company-wide access. A lack of near-real-time visibility across production leads to higher costs, fragmented communication and delayed response to business-critical issues.
Major benefit of IIoT - The path to improved productivityNew control technologies have given manufacturers the ability to make quicker and smarter moves on the plant floor, but rarely is data from these systems converged into a usable, integrated format. While access to plant floor data has long been available, it is often isolated in disparate production systems, limiting its use for timely decision making.
One major trend poised to have a transformative impact on the manufacturing model of the future is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The term refers to products, machines and devices that typically haven’t had any kind of connectivity—from factory machines and forklifts to shipping pallets and delivery trucks.
Sending instructions to machines is not new, but the IIoT offers the potential to control more devices more effectively (and more affordably) than ever before. The IIoT makes it much easier to gather and manage large volumes of plant floor data not only in an individual plant, but throughout multiple facilities via the cloud. When combined with analytics, organizations can obtain greater insights, enabling them to boost manufacturing performance, improve product quality and carry out preventative maintenance.
To take advantage of the opportunities presented by the IIoT, manufacturers need an ERP architecture that is up to the task. Monolithic mega suites will be replaced by agile, adaptable application infrastructures; focus will shift to the flexible integration of new systems and technologies. Particularly critical are integrated ERP capabilities that can connect devices and process data across all areas. Only by collecting comprehensive knowledge can manufacturing performance be improved and processes optimized. . .