Integration and Customization in Manufacturing: Some Exciting Trends
Recently I wrote about a few real life examples of IDC Manufacturing Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Manufacturing and their Top 10 predictions in two parts. They can be found: Part 1 and Part 2. I wanted to continue with this and wrap up the discussions with some additional examples. Hopefully, this helps illustrate what is already happening today to help you see some real life examples that are already taking place.
IDC wrote about Product Lifecycle Management or PLM. Traditionally, this is something that has always been a standalone solution and not one that is integrated into the full product design process. We are seeing an integration of this silo (as I mentioned in my first post on this series) into the product design earlier. Not only are we seeing this in the design process but also in the actual manufacturing workflow and shop floor design as well. When a change is made in the product it is quicker then ever before to make a change to the recipe or the manufacturing process with a ‘one click’ push to the operational side of the company.
This helps a company react to the changes that the customers are asking for and also is an incredibly quick way to start to integrate into the ‘mass customization’ that customers are asking for in many consumer products. Customers want to be able to have a product built for them and for their specifications. I have seen this happen with my son’s soccer cleats even. We are now able to order his shoes online with his number on them and they arrive within a week. While that is as simple as just adding a silk screen it is a great first step in the evolution of customization. Another example is what Motorola does with the Moto X where you can order the phone to your custom color and options and they will deliver it to you as requested (and for an incredibly low price!). Ultimately this can be done because ever process and every mechanism on the processing line can be tracked and changed on the fly. At Hannover Messe 2014 we will be part of the Factory 4.0 demonstration that will highlight this integration and customization on the show floor, stop by and see this in action.
The last 2 predictions from IDC are around the future of where we are going and the fact that the investments will be on the factories of the future. We are already seeing more focus on the shop floor than in the ‘carpeted areas’ where IT had normally lived in within the manufacturing environment then in the past. With more visibility in the shop floor, companies are able to improve their operations and ultimately drive towards more effective operations.
This trend is apparent with the fact that all of our business partners in this space have started to implement IP and Ethernet in their products. We have slowly seen this adoption improve over the past 5-7 years and in the past 2 years it is exploding with the implementation that is happening with our customers. Check out the Industrial IP Advantage as an area to start your own education in this incredibly exciting market. And, we are here to help you drive towards your operational excellence goals. Thanks for reading.