“There has never been a time of greater promise or greater peril.”
Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chair of the World Economic Forum
Without a doubt, the world is changing. And, it is changing at a pace more rapidly than most of us have seen even in our own lifetimes. The pace of this change is probably not felt more acutely than in manufacturing. Look at just the last few years. Additive manufacturing and 3D printing have become common place in many shops. Robotics and “co-botics” are becoming so affordable that even small shops are considering them to automate routine manufacturing processes. Data is streaming from literally millions of connected devices allowing us greater insight and analysis.
The only way to stay ahead of the game and to remain competitive and embrace what is quickly becoming the new norm for manufacturing will be to embrace automation when and where possible. This means that as an owner or manager, you are now being tasked to look at every business process and remove anything that is not allowing you to be more connected, more collaborative, more distinctive, and more agile than your competitors.
As you evaluate your own systems, you may find that they are disconnected, disjointed, or even still highly manual. You may find areas of your shop that you are still running “on the back of a napkin.” You may be manually updating dozens of spreadsheets or operating with a simple financial solution that only gives you rear-view mirror insight into your company.
Honestly, while this may have worked just a few years ago, it won’t “cut it” in the future. The shop of the future will be highly automated, highly connected, and highly insightful. The shop of the future will be able to predicatively anticipate their customer needs and requirements. The shop of the future will have systems in place that are “open” to sending and receiving data from a multitude of sources.
If you feel that you shop isn’t already building the foundation to be a key player in the next manufacturing revolution, there is no time to waste. As an owner or manager, you need to be evaluating those enablers that will help you meet the demands placed on the next gen manufacturer. One of those enablers, of course, will be the cloud. Leveraging a manufacturing execution system that is able to take advantage of the potential that Industry 4.0 provides probably means it needs to be in the cloud. You need to be able to reap the benefits of “any time, any where, on any device”. In addition, you should also consider that solution can easily grow and adapt with you. Change will be a constant in the future. Your next technology investment will need to be able to grow and adapt as your business changes.
Automation is the new business imperative. Industry 4.0 is driving this need for automation. Are you and your systems ready? Stay tuned to this blog for practical ways your shop can automate every business process from quote to cash and reap the benefits of increased efficiency, lower costs and higher margins.