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Process automation has always played a central role in productivity and growth in manufacturing. And in today’s intensely-competitive markets, information systems are a crucial element that companies need to increase productivity.
Tackle the Efficiency Challenge
The route to increased growth starts with optimized efficiencies of existing operations. IT can play a real supporting role here, automating processes that serve to speed up production, identifying bottlenecks and other obstacles to completion at an early, addressable stage. IT systems that make it easier for companies to customize out-of-the-box processes to meet their own business needs are an important capability to look for.
Technology can now draw together data from diverse sources to provide a unified layer of process and data. This integrated approach facilitates real-time decision-making, and saves on the time taken to bring together heterogeneous data from multiple sources, a significant contribution to improved efficiencies. More specifically, it saves a great deal of time and energy in safeguarding regulatory compliance.
Increased Productivity on the Front Line
Sometimes, manufacturers are able to make process enhancements that are both instant and dramatic, as in this case study about Owens Corning GlassMetal Services (OCGMS), a US based company which fabricates highly-specialized glass fiber bushings. OCGMS has adopted sensor tracking on all its shipments, so any delays, route deviations or other shipment issues can be addressed instantly, resulting in more accurate planning, rapid troubleshooting, all minimizing impact on the customer.
Strengthening relationships with suppliers, customers, stakeholders and employees is crucial, if greater efficiencies are to be achieved.
Getting a Return on IT Investments
Operational savings are an important factor when gauging the ROI on potential IT investments. Systems are an essential tool in driving up efficiencies that will free up important staff-time as routine tasks are automated and time savings are delivered. Customers are much more likely to return with more business if they have enjoyed smooth and time-efficient transactions, and, of course, improved productivity means that manufacturing companies can hold firm on pricing, and gain competitive advantage.
Innovation drives more innovation. A culture which is using leading edge technologies to transform its operations rather than simply ‘getting by’, is so much more likely to deliver more of the innovative thinking needed to achieve growth. Digital technologies combine with go-ahead innovators to usher in an exciting growth-fueled manufacturing future. As industrial strategy specialist, Larry Korak,says:
“Automation frees people from the burden of repetitive tasks and allows them to focus on the truly essential elements that only humans can do: designing game changing products and building relationships with customers.”