Digital transformation strategies are delivering more responsive solutions and real-time information to change the way organizations operate. Consider a story from Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s book, Everybody Lies on the topic of big data. In one example, Seth highlights Wall Street financial activity happening in milliseconds, requiring financial firms to pay tens of millions of dollars for fiber-optic cable access. This access “reduced the time information travels from Chicago to New Jersey by just four milliseconds, from 17 to 13 milliseconds.”
Manufacturers Thrive on Timely Information
While this is an extreme example of timely information access from the financial sector, manufacturers are realizing the need to access timely data in order to rapidly respond to changing business conditions. Take the operational management of a production facility that includes a high degree of complexity to run profitably. Whether it’s rapidly responding to changing customer requirements, ensuring raw material availability or maintaining equipment uptime to ensure delivery on-time and in-full, manufacturers require timely information access to address any activity changes.
Can manually intensive processes provide timely information from suppliers? Are you effectively able to identify equipment operators having the necessary training? Can you ensure quality inspections meet the standards set by your customers? Is material accurately tracked from the warehouse to the shop floor? How quickly are you made aware of inbound supply disruptions? Are exceptions presented to users in a timely fashion to avoid inefficiencies and unexpected costs? Ultimately, does your organization have immediate access to the right information to ensure a rapid response to changes as they occur? Consider just three areas where improved data access boosts operational performance:
Improve Supplier Performance
Many manufacturers still rely on outdated processes or fail to understand the role supplier integration plays in maximizing global supply chain performance. Manufacturers we work with often mention the desire for a single source of truth and quicker access to information that improves decision-making with suppliers. QAD Supplier Portal provides timely information of critical order, schedule, shipment, invoice and other data with suppliers to remove inbound supply risks and improve supplier performance. Additional business benefits include:
- Reduce inventory investment without risking material shortages and downtime
- Eliminate processing errors by replacing manual methods with digital communication
- Lower procurement costs with supplier self-service and proactive alerts
- Cut production delays by ensuring timely delivery of material through accurate and automated receipt management
Enhance Product Connectivity
IoT has been a growing topic of conversation over the past several years, both in a manufacturing and a personal daily life context. By better connecting products and gaining real-time product information, manufacturers can reduce downtime, increase inventory accuracy and improve customer service with “smart” manufacturing. And, in the following example, protect revenue streams. Currently, an industrial manufacturer has an advanced IoT enabled oil cap included within their engines. The cap allows the owner to review vibration, temperature and other profile data via Bluetooth. While this provides a benefit to the customer, it also aids the manufacturer as data is shared with the authorized dealer to block non-OEM parts out of the aftermarket sales activity.
Eliminate Manual Material Handling Processes
On a daily basis, manufacturers are challenged with effectively managing warehousing and material handling operations that align with shop floor requirements and customer needs. Costly material handling errors interfere with meeting customer expectations for proper labeling, quality and on-time delivery. In this case, real-time data helps order pickers and digital tools quickly and accurately find the appropriate materials. QAD Automation Solutions automates material movements and delivers real-time visibility to eliminate information gaps, improve material handling efficiency and increase the speed of operations.
It’s clear that more real-time data can have a significant impact on your organization. Now is the time to thoroughly evaluate your organization’s ability to access timely information and become an Adaptive Manufacturing Enterprise.