As recently as 15 years ago, the manufacturing sector was based entirely on manual production planning. It had relied on human intelligence and efficiency — with Excel sheets and computing production efficiency: including areas of maintenance.
Teams would rely on printed sheets filled with numbers and manual inspections of the production process to identify where problem areas might be — and then determine what to do about them. It was a reactive, laborious approach that often got in the way of manufacturers operating as efficiently as they could.
While some manufacturers may still rely on this traditional approach, there’s been a significant shift in the sector. Today, most machines are equipped with data-capturing and sharing capabilities where they collect and share insights based on their performance. They can then export that data on an Excel sheet and integrate it directly with the manufacturer’s ERP system.
Savvy manufacturers are making sure that their machines are integrated, sharing data from across the production process.
Savvy manufacturers are making sure that their machines are integrated, sharing data from across the production process and computing this data to generate it in a centralized, easy-to-read dashboard — one that’s powered by robust analytical tools like Microsoft Dynamics.
The benefits of this approach are extensive. For starters, it allows teams to rapidly identify where problem areas (e.g. defects or dips in efficiency) might arise, and address them proactively. It also gives leaders a direct, real-time view into production efficiency — from resourcing to asset management — and empowers them to make informed decisions that make their business more efficient and profitable.
For many of the manufacturers we work with at InTWO, one of their biggest challenges is figuring out how to gather the data they have available spread across multiple platforms and machines, and make it actionable for them. This is where we can help.
When we work with our manufacturing customers, we start by understanding their existing practices and processes, and where the gaps and pain points might be. Then, we work with them to understand what their business goals are, and how the manufacturing process ties into those.
This is an important step as it helps us establish metrics and KPIs, and better determine the type of information that should be pulled from each machine. These metrics and the resulting dashboards will be unique to each business, enabling them to improve their performance within the context of their industry and future goals.
We’re only just starting to see the potential for change in the manufacturing sector. Looking ahead, there’s bound to be ongoing transformation in the way we do things. For one thing, automation will become much more prevalent, removing manual processes across each step of the manufacturing lifecycle. This, in turn, will impact the manufacturing workforce, reducing the need for physical labour and increasing the need for predictive modeling and proactive decision making. For employers that want to stay ahead of the curve, upskilling staff early and hiring for the right skill sets could become a competitive advantage.
At InTWO, we’re excited to see where the sector goes next, and we’ll be there to help our customers embrace these changes as they come.
For more information on how InTWO partners with manufactures to help them optimise their operations, get in touch.