Utilising ERP in Industry 4.0
Utilising ERP in Industry 4.0 has been a major talking point in recent years. When one considers the the rapid evolution of manufacturing at the moment, this should not come as a surprise. If anything, change is speeding up across the manufacturing industry as a result of COVID-19 and Brexit, as well as ever-increasing technological progress.
Now assembly lines are smarter and more efficient than ever before. Innovation is the word of the moment and operations are increasingly pared down and streamlined.
Most businesses are embracing new technologies as a way of improving processes, reducing waste and boosting their bottom line.
As a result, they are looking at everything from The Internet of Things, to smart phones and remote working in order to get ahead of the competition, particularly during a time of intense business challenges.
Perhaps surprisingly, it is ERP technology that remains at the forefront of positive business change and improved outcomes.
This is only surprising because the technology has existed in some form for at least 50 years. Despite this, it’s ability to streamline processes and deliver real efficiencies is undiminished, and this is only increasing with the advent of Industry 4.0.
Improve factory efficiency
Smart factories and factories of the future are big buzzwords at the moment, and for good reason.
Future factories are capable of producing reduced production times and can manufacture more complex products with minimal fuss. Their ability to create products that require more frequent material changes with speedier delivery times is also a huge plus.
Better traceability and accountability, as well as improved change forecasting and distribution is another factor.
ERP has the major advantage of delivering seamless business processes within just one system – bringing together multiple departments and operations.
While the success stories are everywhere, this is not a case of something being too good to be true – ERP really has been the key method of delivering success for manufacturers.
It doesn’t require much imagination to picture how the efficiencies that a business could achieve with better planning, integration and materials management from a single system.
Combine this with better data oversight and automation brought about with Industry 4.0 and you can see how ERP has a big part to play.
Get automation to work for you
At this point, the arrival of AI, robots and automation is inevitable (if it hasn’t arrived already).
Further evolution is likely to change the face of UK manufacturing forever. With Industry 4.0, businesses are fine-tuning machine uptime, reducing labour costs, increasing factory space and making big savings on capital expenditure. It is fair to say that AI is playing a big part in all of this.
However, the introduction of robots to the factory floor means that a busy manufacturing manager now has yet another asset to manage. And what happens when one of them ultimately fails in a way that a human worker rarely does?
By ensuring the AI is interlinked with your ERP system, and by combining their data oversight with your ERP software, you can better schedule robot maintenance and view their outputs, offering greater visibility than ever before.
And by using ERP to adjust your product designs and held inventory, you can consistently change and modify your designs and materials to reap even more value from your robots.
Help your business leverage the Internet of Things
Increasingly connected devices are offering manufacturers a more comprehensive view of their supply chains while also improving the accuracy of decision making. Add to this the influence of the Internet of Things and the possibilities for manufacturing businesses are significant.
One method of improving performance is to integrate sensors with your products to analyse performance in relation to safety, durability, efficiency and more. By sharing this information with your ERP software, you can automatically update Bills of Materials, change design specifications and improve your processes to boost production.
You can also use this to feed information into ERP to keep tracking the lifespan of a product while using the information to improve services to your customers. This can be done by making them aware when a product needs urgent maintenance, as well as altering production strategy for better product improvement.
While the use of sensors in manufacturing has been common for some time, the important thing to remember is that ERP allows you to direct the substantial data collected by sensors into your design and engineering processes.
Want to find out more? Talk to a CBO consultant for an informal chat about utilising ERP in Industry 4.0 for your business here.
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