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How Industry 4.0 is changing the face of ERP for the manufacturing industry
What is Industry 4.0?
In recent years, the phrases ‘Industry 4.0’, ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Big Data’ have been industry buzzwords. Although key phrases in technical jargon, do we really understand what they mean? And, how can we best utilise them to engineer growth
Realistically, most technology now has computers embedded within them, complete with measuring devices and interconnectivity.
The sheer amount of measurement that takes place creates a huge volume of information (Big Data), which due to the internet and the availability of cloud storage, can be processed and stored. This cloud-stored information is then available for us, and other devices, to access and use – which today is more commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Industry 4.0 Technology
Data on its own, however, is not that useful – we need reporting and actionable insights to answer questions, such as:
- Do we need to re-order stock?
- Will our machines fail?
- How will this affect our processes?
- Will we run out of cash flow?
- What is the risk to our business?
With all this data, we need statistical experts, industry experts, data handlers, etc., to manage it. However, with machine learning and Artificial intelligence (AI), you can let the computer processing do all the work, and act on the insights provided. This is Industry 4.0 — monitoring the physical processes in the workplace and using automation to handle decentralised decision-making.
How does Industry 4.0 affect the manufacturing industry?
There are several answers to this question. Primarily, Industry 4.0 provides key benefits to customer service. Managing stock levels based on industry requirements, market trends and demand, along with considering lead time, enables you to operate a lean business without running out of components.
This level of information will also allow you to ramp up scheduling of production in advance of peak periods to ensure that the workload is levelled out over time.
Organisations are now finding ways to simplify processes to improve productivity. Finally, for engineering companies, for example, upgrading designs to incorporate recording devices for IoT gives a modern answer to an age-old question of how we optimise workflow.
Providing your customers with the tools that they need to help them engineer their growth in the modern environment will not only set you apart from your competitors but will show the market that you are at the forefront of adopting innovative and best-placed technology.
How does the industry get involved with this technology?
The core of Industry 4.0 is having integrated software solutions. As a base, a fully integrated ERP solution will allow you to connect your data easily, and retrieve the data for reporting.
Cloud hosting provides a flexible, affordable and secure way of storing and managing all this data.
Reporting tools such as Power BI allow you to get actionable insights into your data, whilst Flow provides automation based on triggers within your system, such as low stock warnings.
How does this affect IT staff?
The new age of Cloud hosting and Cloud software, such as Azure and Office 365, has been a worry for a lot of IT staff, as both create an environment that requires less maintenance of in-house servers and IT infrastructure. However, our experience shows that companies who are embracing technology place a much higher value on IT knowledge, with good IT staff going from the support in the back room to managing company strategy.
Organisations are now focusing on their IT talents, with many businesses highlighting these capabilities as an integral selling point. By communicating their knowledge and expertise in this way, this successfully demonstrates their value. As a result, IT managers are receiving clear budgets and being rewarded with key decision-making powers. This is a change in mindset for many business owners but is one that companies need to adopt to reflect the ever-evolving industry and consumer demands.
Manufacturing solutions from Dynamics Consultants
As experts in manufacturing solutions using ERP, we will work with you to get the insights from your data. From helping to set up a robust solution to tutoring your staff on how to get the most out of those insights, we partner with you to help your business be a success and engineer growth in the world of Industry 4.0. If you would like to keep up to date with the latest news in the Manufacturing industry, please sign up to our newsletter below.
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