One down-side of being human is the realization that not everyone can be considered a “team player”, even at a time of crisis when our entire species is being challenged. Whether creating and delivering key medical devices, critical industry products, or even a piece of software, we all need to focus equally on the potential influence of “bad actors”, as well as the efficiency of doing it right first time. There will be consequences if we don’t.
As momentum around the Connected Factory continues to build, manufacturers everywhere are intently focused on reaching Industry 4.0 in their own factory environments. But to reach Industry 4.0 implies that it is a destination—and that, once reached, one’s quest for Industry 4.0 is somehow complete. The lion’s share of the industry speaks about Industry 4.0 this way. However, to reap the full benefits of the Connected Factory, it is critical that today’s manufacturers approach Industry 4.0 as a journey.
The rapid advancements and utilization of new technologies is simplifying everyone’s life, enabling us to do things quicker, more intelligently, and more efficiently. However, some people see this as being a way to exploit others. One instance of this is counterfeit electronic and mechanical goods, parts and assemblies. As manufacturers and counterfeiters try to out-smart each other with their respective detection and concealment efforts, costs and risk increase as a result. Instead, we should be considering ways to stop this cycle before a severe problem occurs.
It’s no secret that technology is a heavy focus for today’s manufacturers. Unfortunately, many manufacturers often focus on technology as an end, when in reality, technology is a means to achieving better business outcomes.
People have begun describing their cloud systems as "the fog." I get the feeling the joke is based on actual events. Are we" venting" gases into the atmosphere with our data during this digital era just like we did during the industrial age? Is it possible to simply throw our data in the cloud and expect a software application to analyze and organize it when we need it? But first, we must begin with an understanding of what the cloud can and cannot do, as well as knowing what is required to make the cloud an effective strategy for storing data that is easily accessed.
Eliminating paper in manufacturing, also known as the Smart Factory or Industry 4.0, is just the first step of the digital revolution. There has been a significant transformation when we compare modern-day printed material to that of our ancestors’ early drawings of shapes, symbols, and pictures on cave walls. The next step of this advancement is more than just becoming ‘paperless.’ Transferring physical media into the digital domain, a crucial element of our digitalized Smart factory, provides a far more significant fundamental change. The future of ‘Paperless Manufacturing’ is much more than just eliminating paper from manufacturing.
In order to improve productivity growth, it is critical that manufacturers strategically adopt factory-wide technology that actively promotes workforce efficiency. But which technology is worth the investment? To find out, let’s examine the top productivity pain points manufacturers are experiencing today.
More advanced technology equals higher workforce productivity—this is the simple equation that drives enterprise strategy for many manufacturing leaders. But technology and productivity do not always increase in direct correlation with one another. Instead, it is only by strategically investing in the right technology solutions that manufacturers can ensure effective productivity gains for their workforce.
In the first part of this three-part series, we learned how the top level of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) work in the factory to provide results against business goals and requirements, managing the flow of production for final products and sub-assemblies. In the second part, we took take a more detailed look into the deeper levels of MES, discussing other areas within the factory that MES manages, that enable the final production flow to work smoothly and effectively. In this last segment of the series, we finish by looking further into the levels of MES functionality that enables final production to work effectively. We then explore different types of MES and review the important aspects of MES to keep in mind when first implementing or when upgrading a basic MES that is already in place to a system with the latest IIoT digitalized technology.
Could anyone have imagined the degree to which our world has become automated? From smartphones to fully automated data centers, we’ve experienced a technological revolution that has digitized everything from buying movie tickets to nearly all business processes. Ironically, the industry that has been the bedrock of it all, electronics manufacturing services (EMS), has not realized the same degree of innovation in their front-offices as they have pioneered on their shop floor.