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Enabling Digital Intelligence for the Manufacturing Sector

As enterprises automate processes for improved efficiency and productivity, many of them haven’t truly enabled intelligent execution of operations. The manufacturing workforce, if supported with the right data and analytics, can make smart, strategic decisions. In the absence of data-powered intelligence, it’s widely reported that growth happens slower.

Similar to chemical companies, manufacturing enterprises are looking to evolve into intelligent enterprises and drive digital innovation. While doing so, it is essential to maintain relevance, quality, and agility. 

The manufacturing sector has used disparate systems for individual process. This leads to the overall operations becoming tedious, time-consuming and inefficient.

This blog post will articulate what it means to transform into an intelligent manufacturing enterprise.

What is an Intelligent Enterprise?

Simply put, Intelligent Enterprises are integrated enterprises that use data to feed their intelligence in order to grow more resilient, profitable, and sustainable. This enables organizations to understand and make decisions as per the needs of their customers, partners, and employees.

With the advances in Machine Learning, Cloud computing, IoT, and Automation, organizations can develop increasingly sophisticated capabilities to eliminate repetitive manual tasks. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, more than half of manual tasks will be automated by 2025. This means that the workforce will be able to focus on high-value activities such as customer success, strategic planning, and innovation. 

In addition, Intelligent Enterprises have access to real-time analysis of their machines to predict maintenance needs more accurately, identify potential quality problems in manufacturing processes before they occur, and reduce asset downtime. 

Building an intelligent enterprise

Manufacturing is a highly data-intensive industry. Ranging from supply chain management to shop floor scheduling, from accounting to shipping and delivery, data is available from various sources. The first step in building an intelligent enterprise is understanding the value of data. 

Leveraging intelligent technologies such as IoT and AI/ML reduces the turnaround time. This improves innovation and simplifies designing new business processes and models.

Using advanced analytics to sift through the data will provide a comprehensive report of how manufacturing can be improved by showing gaps in the production line.

Using an ERP system to manage operations creates a centralized repository of resources and knowledge. An ERP, like SAP B1 is capable of sifting through large volumes of data and analyzing the relevant information to offer actionable insights and customized reports. 

  • Real-time insights

Maintaining relevance in today’s manufacturing landscape requires data. The quality of the data is an indicator of the depth of the insight. For instance, having a KPI framework in place will offer domain-specific insights. These will in turn provide end-to-end visibility from sourcing to production to sales leading to informed decisions. This reduces production disruptions while ensuring alignment with shop floor execution.

An ERP solution, like SAP Business One [SAP B1], allows insights to be optimized based on context and the end-user while using a single, reliable source of real-time enterprise data. For instance, digital boardrooms allow the management to run the enterprise effectively. 

Additionally, manufacturers can assist the workforce through wearable technology, tablets, and other smart devices to deliver real-time data at the operational level. Supervisors can analyze a worker’s actual performance and help in improving on the errors. Labour-intensive, time consuming tasks such as procurement, inventory management, research compilations can now be automated through intelligent technology for better outcomes. 

  • Agility

Several manufacturing enterprises work on a piecemeal approach. Here, solutions from multiple technologies with individual metrics are brought together. This drastically reduces the agility, speed, and visibility against a single centralized. Legacy systems are unable to provide the framework necessary for survival in today’s economic landscape.

An ERP like SAP B1, allows existing software to be integrated offering a single common point of access. This links the individual departments and processes simplifying access, transfer, and storage of data. Additionally, an ERP logically connects every area of the business. 

With cloud computing now available, remote access can be granted through secure servers allowing for smoother collaboration and innovation. This is a wonderful alternative to legacy systems.

  • Core-Process Differentiation

Customers today are increasingly aware of their needs. Bombarded as they are with ideas and ads everywhere they turn, it is becoming crucial to stand out. 

The best way to do that is to personalize. We are at the peak of moving away from mass-produced products to highly personalized products manufactured based on customer specification. 

The one size fits all approach will no longer work. Enhancing customer experience and retaining loyalty necessitates focusing on working towards a customer-centric perspective. This will create new ways to engage with customers while appealing to sentiment. 

  • Streamline Business Operations

Digital intelligence lowers costs allowing for rapid response. An ERP is an intuitive, intelligent platform that simplifies invoicing, reporting expenses, inventory management, procuring, and sales. This frees up valuable employee time allowing them to focus on mission-critical tasks on the factory floor. 

An ERP like SAP B1 accomplishes this through standardized industry processes over non-differentiating processes. With integrated applications and differential access, resources can be maximized and wastage reduced. This further reduces scrap value.

Advanced analytics helps make sense of the massive volumes of data generated. For instance, what products worked well and why, how they were received, which batch had defects etc. This enables consistent delivery of high-quality output making it easy to scale-up. 

With the growing need for flexibility and agility in business processes, manufacturers must transform into intelligent enterprises leveraging the latest technologies and meeting modern customer expectations. This transformation will turbo-charge core processes.

About Akshay Software Technologies Limited

Founded in 1987 and based in Mumbai, India, Akshay Software Technologies Limited is one of the leading SAP Business One Silver Partners that provides SAP Business One ERP Consulting, Implementation, Support, and License resale. With the experience and the expertise to successfully power the digital transformations of SMEs across various industries, Akshay Software is committed to helping businesses leverage the opportunities of the future.

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