Behind the scenes of the world’s leading industrial and manufacturing companies, a profound digital transformation is now underway. According to a recent Global Manufacturing article, How technology is transforming manufacturing, there is no no doubting the digital transformation targeting manufacturers. According to the article, the effects of technological advancements on businesses, including the Internet of Things (IoT), is on the rise. There is no doubt that today’s manufacturing operations are transforming. As with any profound transformation, the opportunities for competitive advantage and growth are enormous, but so are the challenges. How do you determine what your next digital transformation steps should be? How do you position your manufacturing business to take the next step—and the one after that? For starters, consider three key trends that are shaping the future of manufacturing by delivering the visibility that enables transformation:
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Advanced, Real-Time Analytics
- Migration of Manufacturing Applications to the Cloud
Wherever your manufacturing business is on its digital transformation journey, there’s so much to consider. Why? Digital transformation involves investment in technologies that give greater visibility, from the factory floor through all of their core business processes — sales, financials, customer relationship management, supply chains, purchasing, inventory,shipping, invoicing, and more.
IoT-based smart devices are opening new windows of visibility into manufacturing processes. More and more, manufacturers are using IoT devices to make more accurate, real-time decisions. The best in class are almost four times more likely to detect the unexpected—making them much more able to respond quickly and effectively to unforeseen events and their consequences. This direct integration of the physical and digital worlds enables manufacturers to streamline, simplify, and improve their operations and customer service. They can automate many actions that used to be manual because the devices collecting data can now initiate specific processes when predetermined conditions appear. As a manufacturer takes early IoT steps it’s worth thinking about the future and investing in a core business system that can support all of IoT efforts, today and tomorrow – a system designed to manage multiple data flows, processes, and business functions in an integrated way. In other words, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system designed to synthesize information from multiple, fast-changing data sources.
Advanced, real-time analytics drive better decision making for manufacturers. When you’re a small-to-midsize manufacturer, analytics can be one of the biggest stumbling blocks,
as it takes specialized skills to turn data into insight that you can act upon. It helps if your ERP system can also help you up the analytics ladder. You want those without specific analytics skills to be able to quickly understand what is happening, so they can do their jobs more effectively. You want managers and decision-makers to be able to dig more deeply into what has happened, to understand why it has happened. Ultimately, you want analytics that will help you predict what will happen and even recommend smart actions to take when it does – ready-to-go analytics. Ideally your ERP system won’t ask you to do all the hard work to pull insight from data. Look for pre-built analytics functionality that is already mapped to your most likely common needs, such as materials handling, financials, sales, or production.
Through the cloud, best-in-class manufacturers can achieve real-time visibility and enhance internal and external collaboration. Driven by the need for real-time access to critical data, as well as collaboration anywhere across their supply chain, the migration of key manufacturing software applications to the cloud is big right now. Why? The availability, flexibility, and scalability of cloud-based applications is ideal and the advantages can extend beyond the business—upstream to suppliers and downstream to customers—for true end-to-end visibility and process integration. It’s important to keep in mind that not all cloud implementations are equal. If you expect to leverage cloud flexibility in your factory of the future, consider these attributes in your ERP solution, such as Epicor. Manufacturers that are serious about transforming their factories for growth are getting their businesses fit by investing in ERP solutions that will drive visibility and insight.
Get Fit for the Future! Do you want your manufacturing business to use innovative technology to make smart, data-driven decisions that enable growth?
Epicor can help. Ask us how!