No one likes the feeling of being left behind, and no one likes the feeling of being left out of the loop. The two may sound similar but are actually different when you look a little closer at the effects. Being left behind means you missed out on the entire opportunity. You were close enough to consider an option that was being presented, but now it’s no longer available. Maybe you chose not to act or didn’t act fast enough. Being left out of the loop means you are part of the big group but unable to participate in the key parts. You’re close enough to the action to see it happening around you and just left to always react.
In a business when parts of the company are left out of the loop it affects efficiency, speed, and ultimately inhibits the potential for growth. As part of Industry 4.0, the way to avoid it is through integration.
Integration is the Fulcrum of Industry 4.0
We’ve already talked about Cloud Computing and Big Data in the context of “Why You Should Care About Industry 4.0”. Integration is how you start truly leveraging all the aspects of an intelligent digital transformation and acts as a powerful fulcrum that multiplies the results. Manufacturers need to consider both horizontal and vertical integration when it comes to production. Basically, horizontal integration refers to well-integrated processes across the production-floor level, and vertical integration means that the production floor is well-coordinated with the rest of the business processes such as sales, procurement, and quality control.
No Process Left Behind: Horizontal Integration
A factory that embraces systems capable of ever-growing intelligence and automation options needs a maestro to conduct the orchestra. This means a talented human element, but of course an integrated software element as well. If you want your processes to be integrated, your software needs to be able to integrate as well.
Let's look at an example. DELMIA | Works ERP software in combination with the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform was built to blend and harmonize the data from connected work centers and smart production cells. The benefits of not leaving any process out of the loop are quickly seen:
- Production schedules are optimized based on the complete picture: client promise dates, lead times, tooling, scheduled maintenance, work shifts and historical production data.
- All work centers have live access to information with visibility into what is being produced, what is down, what’s next, and scheduled changeovers.
- Inventory is synced throughout the factory to automatically prepare pick tickets, order staging, packing slips, labels, bills of lading and more.
Speaking One Language: Vertical Integration
Perhaps the biggest challenge in fully realizing integration is the communication and collaboration between departments. Even in companies with the best culture, silos often exist where data and knowledge almost seem guarded. The best way to break these down is to get everyone to speak the same language.
At the very heart of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a collaboration environment for the entire business.
- Data is shared and made accessible to the right stakeholders.
- Roles and apps are designed to work together across departments and disciplines.
- Communication is built-in: when you run your business on the platform, the ability to bring others in, access critical data, and distribute and collaborate is always at your fingertips.
Must-Have: a Platform for Integration
The very nature of Industry 4.0 generates lots of data. That data must be shared and understood by the next department over and the next one upstream. Information in different locations and systems makes it impossible to achieve a successful flow at the speed required. It’s enough to scare some businesses away from the innovations and their potential rewards. Fortunately, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform exists and is built with full integration of business systems and processes in mind.
Want to know more about DELMIA | Works? In this on-demand webinar, learn how ERP can help you bring you real-time visibility to historically disconnected systems in all areas of your business including manufacturing, sales, marketing, quality and shipping.