The word ‘smart manufacturing’ might seem like a trendy catchphrase, but it in fact encompasses much more than an enterprise tactic.
Utilizing big data to refine complicated processes and to manage supply chains, smart manufacturing has basically enabled computers to work with decision-making.
Though it may not beat the human mind on innovation, it can perform calculations that are out of the reach of human capabilities, and come up with insights humans cannot come up with.
Some call this the fourth industrial revolution, where AI, robotics and the Internet of Things, alongside other advanced technologies, come together with enterprises.
Sensors play a big part in the whole process.
They provide detailed data about every small aspect and allow humans to optimize processes that were thought of as cumbersome.
Before smart manufacturing, we’d have to rely on probabilities: for example, we’d have to analyze the frequency at which pipes in a chemical factory needed repair and come up with a maintenance schedule around it and wait around for issues to actually come up so that it can be fixed again.
However, since sensors provide data for these components, we can have a more precise idea of when they need maintenance.
All in all, smart manufacturing has spurred the ability of machines to process big data, improved industrial connectivity, and advanced the integration of robotics into the manufacturing process.
It has enabled manufacturers to keep in touch with the performance of their machines and integrated systems, thanks to analytics in real-time. Inter-machinery communication is vastly improved, operations can be managed remotely, and disruptions are easily predicted.
Smart manufacturing brings forth benefits beyond efficiency, quality and costs savings: they enable manufacturing that is wholly sustainable, efficient and customizable, and hold the capacity to modify supply chains once connected to a larger system.
It may seem daunting to integrate manufacturing with ERP software, as traditional ERP software programs tend to be rather inept with their calculations. However, one should be all set if they find an ERP system with the following features.
Necessary ERP Characteristics For Smart Manufacturing
Firstly, it would be helpful if the design is modular. Hence, the firms would have an option to adapt their ERP system to fit their manufacturing style, whether it’s traditional MRP or lean management.
Programs like Odoo can be set up by simply installing the MRP module in the new database, which will contain all the required features that support the manufacturing method.
Whether it’s MRP for mass production or manufacturing the Kanban way, the specified modules would have it all to aid the style instead of going against it.
Even then, issues arise with adapting, as no business runs the same way. Modules alone cannot fulfill all the needs of an enterprise.
Hence, it helps a lot if the ERP software program is also open-source. This means that with the help of firms that specialize in modification of source code, like Syncoria, the ERP can attend to a particular niche.
These firms always perform a thorough analysis of businesses and tweak the software accordingly.
How Smart Manufacturing Is Aided By ERPs
Specialized manufacturing modules, like Odoo MRP, tend to have good integration between that module and other modules e.g. Maintenance, PLM, Quality.
If crucial data is exchanged without any hassle, calculation mistakes done by the system for planning preventative maintenance will rarely occur.
The modules support calculations for mean time between failure, mean time taken for repair, the estimated next failure date along with others.
Also, they enable manufacturers to use corrective maintenance requests from a control panel directly, in cases of decay due to external influences.
Alongside, they also have the ability to display time schedules, alerts, and updates to workers within a format that has an accessible user interface, keeping the manufacturing floor in sync with logistics and planning departments.
Manufacturers can call for maintenance requests directly from the plant or from the inventory warehouse. Furthermore, relying on application programming interface (API), these software programs can record equipment data in real-time, further improving calculations for maintenance.
In addition, different forms of Bill of Materials (BOMs) can be made for manufactured products.
They can be multi-level or phantom for either sales production or for replacement parts.
Simply by setting the production duration, the components to be used, the overseeing staff, and the availability of items in stock, production can be effortlessly kicked off.
One of the important aspects of smart manufacturing is hazard minimization by remotely performing tasks and making work environments safer.
ERPs equipped for this will amalgamate wireless connections, elaborate data, and detailed sensors to run operations from different places. Alongside reducing human inefficiencies, these ERPs will also be able to increase the involvement of automation.
In many situations, perhaps only one worker will be needed to run an entire plant.
It has been assumed for a long while that ERP software programs were ineffective in working with smart manufacturing practices.
While that may be true for traditional ERPs, nowadays more and more of these programs are much more than capable to aid smart manufacturing, no middleware required, no compromises made.
Keeping track of massive amounts of data and analyzing it has always been a daunting task, but alliances between the creative human mind and the persistent computer processes have been more than enough to tackle it and reach unprecedented heights of predictions and synchrony.
Based in Canada, Syncoria has been providing business solutions all over the world for over 14 years.
Odoo is one of our ready partners who specialize in integrated business solutions and ERP is one of its specialties.
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