Tag Archives: Process Manufacturing
Technology is advancing faster than ever before and it is completely changing the manufacturing industry. To maintain continuous growth, today’s manufacturers are hyper-focused on three key mandates: Improve utilization rates of expensive fixed assets that are below optimal capacity, fill the current and increasing void of specialized labor, and protect operating profit. Advanced technologies are helping traditional manufacturers meet these goals by providing actionable insights into their business so they can make better decisions. Until recently, hardware components such as sensors were expensive and had unclear ROI. Data was siloed, and no solution to scale insight was available. With cutting-edge integrated technologies, manufacturers can enjoy a significant competitive advantage by leveraging insights that are unmatched by any ERP or legacy system.
Today’s customers demand high-quality, individualized products and faster delivery. When it comes to the manufacturing function, manual processes and isolated information silos make meeting these demands increasingly difficult. What’s needed are connected manufacturing processes that are integrated across the entire product life-cycle to break down silos and provide visibility across the phases of design, planning, logistics, and operations. This can enable next-generation business processes that leverage intelligent technologies to analyze root causes of inefficiency, predict machine and process failures, and speed execution. An integrated environment for manufacturing can help compress cycle times, speed time to market, minimize costs, and meet manufacturing demand with greater efficiency and agility – despite growing variability.
The rise of digital transformation has shaken the foundation of even the most stable businesses. Like most industries, success for mill products businesses comes down to data. From manufacturing and production to finance and procurement, decision-makers must evaluate all transactional and related data to truly understand what’s going on. However, few ever truly understand how deeply the business will be affected by changes or future events as long as their accounts receivable and payable requests, shop floor and manufacturing transactions, and sales orders remain in disparate applications and organizational silos. Without an accurate view of changes in supply chain costs, raw material inventory, and order rates, decision-makers cannot safeguard top priorities such as revenue growth, optimization of operating margins, and cost reduction. Throughout mill operations, there’s always a variety of things occurring, transpiring, and transferring simultaneously. And for this reason alone, acquiring immediate insight to sense, analyze, and respond to emerging shifts should always be a priority.
Similar to martial arts, business success is all about perspective. Instead of focusing on the capabilities their organization lacks, business leaders should understand what they can do with what they have. First, they must find the tools that best-fit their business. Smart leaders arm their company with analytics and machine learning that provide critical insights that protect their margins and business. Martial arts and an analytics platform share the common thread of awareness. This allows business leaders to not only report on what is happening, but also predict what is likely to happen and plan accordingly. This prevents rash decisions that will negatively impact the business. Modern analytics platforms enable businesses to respond rather than react to anything that comes their way.
To continually grow as they has in the past, discrete manufacturers must deal with some unique challenges. Without a robust and integrated modeling platform, they often struggle with lack of business visibility, little to no access to actionable insight, excess inventory, and declining profits. The lack of innovation in the business process and technology aspects of manufacturing has many businesses heading into a downward spiral. Consequently, competitors that continue to meet customer needs are the ones that will succeed, both now and in the long term. Short-term vision and planning can mean long-term failure or stagnating growth. Customer demand on organizations to demonstrate flexibility and continue to meet their requirements – but with more product variations – is now the reality of today’s discrete manufacturing industry.
Modern Manufacturers Are Standardizing Their Processes for a Single Version of the Truth in Real Time
Even in today’s business climate of digital transformation and advanced analytics, it is very possible that spreadsheets remain the number one manufacturing execution systems in the world. Unfortunately, manufacturers who are still relaying on spreadsheets for business insights will soon be beat out by those who are going after tools that provide a single version of the truth while enabling predictive and strategic decision making.
Continental, a large automotive components manufacturer, is a serving as a test case for digital transformation in their air-spring business unit. Before they began the transformation, they relied heavily on manual processes and spreadsheets with no real-time global visibility into their manufacturing. By standardizing their manufacturing processes, Continental now works from a single version of the truth that provides the insight to visualize their business in real-time.
According to McKinsey, chemical manufacturers have already invested in IT systems and infrastructure that generate enormous volumes of data. However, many have failed so far to take advantage of this mountain of potential intelligence. Data analytics tools have become exponentially more powerful and easier to use, and the most innovative businesses are putting their mountains of process, product, and other types of data to work in the chemical industry to help navigate the significant changes and volatility that are the new normal. McKinsey research found three common practices that leading chemical companies are using to utilize their data and analytics on a grand scale.
Today’s manufacturers have more quality data at their fingertips than ever before. Companies are now leveraging tools to collect extensive amounts of data about their production processes—across multiple lines and sites, around the clock. Real-time data quality is key to plant-floor operators because it enables them to spot manufacturing issues and inconsistencies before they magnify, make timely corrections, and determine where to focus process improvement efforts at the plant and enterprise levels. To effectively sift through the amount of data coming from the modern plant floor and find real, valuable quality intelligence, there are essential pillars that manufacturers first need to have in place: standardization, centralized data, and prioritization.
Many businesses have found that their existing business processes have simply outlived the intended reason for which they were initially designed. Once business leaders realize the way they are doing business is not effective or profitable, they seek ways to improve and optimize their existing processes. This search for workflow optimization is prompted by a very real need to improve productivity and operational efficiency – a need that is evident across all business segments and vertical industries. Most can easily identify areas where improved efficiency is needed, but without a clear understanding of the problem, there is a general reluctance to simply throw time, money, and resources at a solution. The key is to implement a tool that can help the business clearly identify the issue and potential solutions.