The one who owns the information owns the world. You’ve probably heard this legendary expression said by Nathan Mayer Rothschild. Being the first who’d received a piece of information about Napoleon’s Defeat, he managed to earn £40 million. The non-standard use of the first-hand information he received very quickly allowed his family to make the largest fortune of that time.
Amazing that this phrase has not lost its relevance. Access to up-to-date information and the ability to extract valuable insights can bring enormous benefits to businesses and organizations. This is an approach that formed the basis of Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 (or the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is a new approach to production based on the mainstream adoption of information technology in the industry, business process automation, and the broad introduction of artificial intelligence. Industry 4.0 is all about flexibility, speed, productivity increase, resilience, and competitiveness improvement. However, all of the above is the outcome, whereas data is an incentive. Otherwise, how could you know what processes to improve if you don’t have performance measures at hand?
In this article, we will dive into data capacity and find out how data drives manufacturing businesses.
What Is Smart Manufacturing?
Smart manufacturing (SM) is an innovative strategy for organizing the production of industrial products with a focus on the intelligent control of all business processes.
In a narrower sense, smart manufacturing refers to a modern organization of the business process of an enterprise, which can be characterized by:
- Manufacturing system automation.
- Optimization of production processes through the introduction of modern technologies, including robotics.
- Collection, storage, and processing of large amounts of data using the Internet of things and cloud computing.
- Forecasting and effective production planning.
How Data Contributes to Smart Manufacturing
The appropriate approach to leveraging manufacturing data can assist industrial businesses in achieving precise operational and strategic results:
Data helps companies identify and fix vulnerabilities and adjust manufacturing processes, resulting in cost savings. Thus, thanks to data received with modern technologies, Petrosea (a mining company in India) has managed to ensure predictive maintenance and address malfunctions before they happen. In addition, cutting-edge technologies help the company discover precious metals faster.
Reduced machine and equipment downtime
The data will help reduce service equipment downtime by automating machine diagnostics. In the long run, it will reduce maintenance and repair costs.
Data analysis helps companies identify market trends and determine the direction of development, for example, to enter new regions or expand the product range. For example, an American mining company Freeport-McMoRan tried to increase copper production at one of the mines but soon faced a falling price for the metal. Then the company’s management attracted data analysts; the new approach helped ramp up production.
Understanding customer needs and expectations
Collection and analysis of data from site visitors detail the portrait of a potential consumer. This information allows anticipating the audience’s expectations and understanding whether or not they are interested in the product.
What Cutting-Edge Technology Underpins Smart Manufacturing
Now that we understand how data can help achieve technological transformation, let’s take a look at what cutting-edge technologies can help capture data and turn your company into an intelligent enterprise.
The more data a corporation has, the easier it is to run a business. Today, AI/ML technologies can collect and process data, from information about customers to market indicators. This technology allows you to predict demand in certain areas, reduce the number of errors through intelligent analytics, and increase production efficiency.
Aside from just mining data, an effective company should also quickly transfer data between departments. This is possible thanks to 5G connectivity, which helps to exchange data without delay, quickly upload them to the cloud, and provides unlimited scalability opportunities.
IoT/IIoT is another means of implementing the Industry 4.0 concept. IoT tools help enterprises to collect information, which subsequently allows the company to acquire objective and accurate insights on the state of the enterprise. Companies can use the information obtained to prevent unplanned downtime, and equipment breakdowns and reduce unscheduled maintenance and disruptions in supply chain management, resulting in the enterprise operating more efficiently.
With cloud computing, all departments of your enterprise receive access to system resources such as IIoT information, reports, analytics, and process automation across wireless networks (Wi-Fi or 5G). Large clouds can be centrally controlled while distributed over different regions and countries. As for the business application of cloud technologies, the use of cloud solutions allows you to achieve the following results:
- Cross-company collaboration
- Optimization of costs for information infrastructure
- Mobility and flexibility
- Integration of information systems and data consolidation
- Data security.
Smart Manufacturing Powered by SAP
According to predictions, smart manufacturing will become the major factor for manufacturers to achieve competitiveness in the coming years. To get on the path to becoming an intelligent enterprise right now, let’s see what SAP solutions can help with this.
SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud
SAP Digital Manufacturing一 is a solution built on SAP’s developments in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), predictive analytics, and supply chain. It is designed for centralized production management and workflow optimization and allows manufacturers to deploy Industry 4.0 technologies in the cloud infrastructure. The solution also allows:
- Connecting production and business processes
- Boosting performance based on company data
- Harmonizing data analytics
- Unifying manufacturing modeling
- Integrating manufacturing operations management.
SAP Manufacturing Execution System
The solution allows global manufacturers to manage and control manufacturing operations. You can create comprehensive manufacturing records by collecting data from multiple sources and integrating data systems with manufacturing operations. Other benefits of this solution include the following:
- Access to real-time production data for fast and informed decision making
- Performance optimization
- Production visibility and transparency at the level of the entire enterprise
- Automated data collection
- Production defect detection.
SAP S/4HANA Manufacturing
Thanks to real-time data, the system collects all functions and decisions for production, manufacturing, and operations and uses the information received to make decisions based on planning and operational business processes.
Companies can now minimize interruptions in the production process due to changes in routes, work instructions, and directions by analyzing the impact of these actions on the production process. In addition, the solution helps provide comprehensive planning and scheduling and streamlined operation management.
SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence
SAP MII improves employee productivity and overall equipment efficiency with manufacturing intelligence and visibility. The solution also allows you to achieve the following business results:
- Integration of all production data and business systems
- Analytics and data visualization
- Machine transparency that improves setup, reduces downtime, and increases efficiency and utilization
- Increased asset use and shutdown management
- Data-sharing with customers to achieve supply chain transparency
- Annual cost saving.
Building an intelligent enterprise is not an easy undertaking. Even though you have an understanding of how to achieve your business goals, things can turn out differently in practice. Therefore, this is always a good idea to turn to a reliable technology partner who is ready to share additional transformation insights and discuss specific challenges your organization can face.