The manufacturing industry best showcases the magnitude of digital transformation Industry 4.0 has introduced to the ‘factory function.’
Automating manufacturing operations and creating end-to-end visibility across the supply chain—to help a business respond quickly to disruption—have been key elements of this transformation.
A resilient supply chain can overcome the challenges of volatile demand, uncertain supply and constrained capacity. Building such a network necessitates the creation of a digital thread across an organization. Using an intelligent, intuitive ERP solution for the manufacturing industry creates it.
How can you create a digital thread?
Weaving a digital thread isn’t necessarily heavy lifting since the tools to create one are—largely— standardized across platforms. A skilled IT team can get the work done with proper guidance and a fool proof roadmap.
Why do you need an ERP solution to create a digital thread?
An ‘intelligent’ factory is agile and can adapt to support different production scenarios. It is also flexible and capable of managing differing production volumes requirements and manufacturing technologies. All these attributes are outcomes of interconnected processes and a transparent supply chain, enabled by an ERP solution.
The best ERP systems for manufacturing provide intelligent factories with both predictive and prescriptive capabilities, in addition to real-time data, engineering feedback loops, and network capabilities. The result is better collaboration and seamless information sharing across engineering, manufacturing and asset operations.
Why is a digital thread critical for manufacturing?
Smart manufacturing aims to optimize business, physical and digital processes across the complete product value chain in a factory setup. The creation of a digital thread becomes critical when these digital connectivity-led optimization goals starts converging into a single framework strategy for manufacturing systems.
In other words, redesigning a factory is a time-, effort- and cost-intensive procedure. A digital thread eliminates the need for such redesigns by capturing intelligence (data) from disparate, but interconnected, systems. This digital data is the new manufacturing ‘glue’ — It aggregates production activities to operate with greater intelligence, higher quality, and quicker response to change.
A manufacturing organization needs a digital thread running through it for these five reasons:
- To gain early insight into delayed bottlenecks – A digital thread identifies the necessary engineering-related changes mandated by a complex business environment. It also puts up alerts to:
o Indicate when production needs to be put on hold
o Track the various steps involved in manufacturing and production completion
- To establish process/product benchmarks for suppliers – A digital thread lets manufacturers view issues as soon as they arise by collating real-time data from sensors within factories.
- To better understand suppliers, optimize them, manage designing, drive production and installation, and monitor operations
- To minimize asset on-boarding time/cost and reduce downtime
- To extend equipment life and increase Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) through predictive and prescriptive maintenance
A communication framework for smart factories
A digital thread provides a formal framework for the collation, and analysis, of data from disparate systems throughout the product lifecycle. Its essence lies in leveraging an ERP-driven digital transformation to manage the complete lifecycle of every machine in a manufacturing setup.