With technology evolving at stunning rates, the manufacturing sector has entered a new era of ‘Industry4.0’, also called ‘Smart Manufacturing’. It comprises a mix of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Additive manufacturing or 3D Printing, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), etc at its core that extends manufacturing capabilities to newer levels.

Today’s customers are demanding improved quality, speed of service and personalization, and manufacturers cannot overlook these technologies to keep pace with the increasingly competitive market. It should not be surprising why manufacturing companies are already undergoing a digital transformation by embracing these latest technologies, reinventing and reimagining the way they do business to ensure a competitive advantage. According to IDC’s Worldwide Manufacturing Predictions,  by the end of 2020, 60% of G2000 manufacturers will rely on digital platforms that enhance their investments in ecosystems.

Well, these technologies definitely bring in enormous opportunities for growth and efficiency. But so are the challenges. If you are a manufacturer looking to embrace Industry 4.0 into your operations to overcome your current business challenges, it is extremely critical for you to adopt digital platforms that support your business goals. Enterprise technologies that are inflexible and obsolete, and cannot support the latest technologies, may hinder your growth and efficiency.

Thus, in pursuit of your move to ‘Smart Manufacturing’, a Smart ERP that efficiently supports the latest technologies and streamlines your manufacturing processes is a critical requirement. IDC’s Worldwide Manufacturing Predictions reports say by 2021, 20% of G2000 manufacturers will depend on a secure backbone of embedded intelligence, enabled by Smart ERPs, to automate large-scale processes and speed execution times by up to 25%.

What is Smart Manufacturing and Smart ERP?

Smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0 is all about fully integrated, collaborated manufacturing systems that can respond in real-time to changing demands or conditions in the factory, supply network or customer’s needs. It is all about getting real-time data with the help of technology and using the data for better decision making by humans or sometimes by machines.

The result is a factory capable of delivering shorter production runs, manufacturing more complex products with more frequent material changes, ensuring quicker deliveries, different mixes of packaging and distribution, better change forecasting, supply chain management, and product traceability.

In this context, your core system that integrates your business processes, your ERP should be more adaptive and agile and shift its role from just a System Of Records to a System of Intelligence and Decisions.

Your ERP, in fact, is the backbone of the entire decision support system by taking data from various input points, be it in the production line, supply chain or even the product demand shared by marketing and sales to give meaningful insights and help make the right decisions. That’s where you need smart ERPs. A smart ERP simply helps you go up the analytics ladder to make informed decisions.

Smart ERPs or Intelligent ERPs stand for Connectivity and Access. They use machine learning, AI, Blockchain technology, Big Data, IoT, Cloud computing, Mobility, and Advanced Analytics to forecast, track, learn, analyze predict, report and manage your business processes more efficiently.

These smart ERPs can play a key role in allowing you to implement smart technologies of Industry 4.0. It can help solve your business problems by integrating well with these technologies and allowing you to leverage them for business advantage.

How Smart ERPs Enable Smart Manufacturing and Improve Efficiency

Smart ERPs are your key to moving to Smart Manufacturing and improve your efficiency in meeting customer expectations. Lets’ dig into how smart ERPs help you improve manufacturing efficiency and achieve your business goals.

1.Make informed decisions based on data – With smart sensors taking over your factories, and IoT connecting these sensors or machines and the internet, Industry 4.0 opens new doors to your manufacturing processes. IoT and IIoT enable you to take advantage of data from every machine in the network, crunch it and get actionable insights. Smart ERPs with top-notch analytics and business intelligence capabilities may include features such as predictive maintenance of machinery, advanced automation to optimize shop floor operations and better customer service, etc. Such features allow you to make informed decisions and make the most of the benefits of Industry 4.0.

2.Enhancing customer experience – Smart ERPs can collect and share data from every part of your system – be it the shop floor or the boardroom. By being a center of all collaboration, users across the organization have access to relevant data in real-time – be it the Production Planner, CXO, Suppliers or Customers.

The ERP system can also push any alerts to concerned people whenever necessary, to initiate actions.Such a fast, seamless and real-time movement of data in the smart ERP decreases errors and boosts productivity, efficiency, and integration. This allows your business to maintain a transparent and fast-paced value chain, resulting in enhanced customer experience.

3.Bestowing flexibility and ability to manage change – Customers in the digital era are demanding and looking for the most personalized experiences. Hence, the success of manufacturers today is also determined by their ability to cater to the dynamic customer needs and offering extremely personalized products. Gone are the days when manufacturers could churn out batches of mass products and satisfy their customers.

Today’s manufacturing companies need to adjust their production dynamically based on the evolving market needs. But, for this, your production process needs to be a lot more flexible. A smart ERP with cutting edge features can keep you informed on the dynamic market needs and customer expectations. It allows you to respond rapidly and improve your resource management to scale production up or down, control spending and reduce waste.

4.Available anywhere in reality – Smart ERPs are mobile and help your people work smarter from wherever they are. The insights and data provided by analytics become most useful only when they are available at the point of need – be it the factory floor, warehouse, customer site or even boardroom.

If you want your manufacturing business to enjoy a competitive edge by taking advantage of Industry 4.0 technologies, identifying a Smart ERP Vendor is the first step for your transition to ‘Smart Factory’ and improving your efficiency. Finding a right partner like RheinBrucke who can discuss with you on overcoming your current business challenges and help you realize your strategic goals by leveraging a Smart ERP, to keep pace with the current industrial revolution, is a great way to get started.

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