“For many industrial manufacturers, what was once a clear path to success is now fraught with uncertainty,” PwC’s Industrial Manufacturing Trends report for 2018 and 2019 reads. As more and more manufacturers seek efficiency and production transparency from digital technologies and connected tools they are now faced with a new challenge – finding the right tools to meet their unique requirements. But with so much digital equipment on the market – and all of it fitted with smart sensors that generate data, which ups productivity, promotes efficiencies and reduces costs – making the right decisions can be tough.
No matter what systems or solutions you choose, all of this innovation is enabled by the same thing – cloud. Sure, information technologies are transforming global manufacturing by digitising various manufacturing processes but cloud represents a critical piece of the smart manufacturing puzzle.
Below, we’ve outlined a few ways that cloud computing drives manufacturing growth.
Accelerated product life cycle times
Cloud-based manufacturing systems can be used to reduce the amount of time between an order being placed and the final product being produced. When manufacturers have access to real time data they are better equipped to manage their production schedule, speed up their delivery times and improve product quality. In fact, when you have the right manufacturing intelligence you can even identify open slots in your production schedule and then fill these slots with short-notice production runs.
Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) insights
OEE is all about measuring manufacturing productivity. Your OEE score reflects exactly how much of your manufacturing time is truly productive and how much time is being wasted. OEE insights can help manufacturers streamline their processes, identify any potential losses and improve the efficiency of their equipment. The aim is to reduce performance, availability and quality loss.
Improved supply chain performance and traceability
Cloud-based applications that handle tracking and traceability provide greater visibility into your product lifecycle it is far easier to identify if/when any defective parts are introduced into production and to catch product quality problems before they get out of hand. Similarly, by monitoring your machinery and your production process you can predict patterns and reduce the costs associated with production errors. To calculate your score, your need accurate data fed into your OEE software in real-time; this is where cloud comes in.
Cloud computing allows modern manufacturers to leverage infinitely scalable computational resources on an on-demand, pay-per-use basis. This means that manufacturers can access what they need, when they need it without having to make any big investments in expensive IT equipment. This flexibility opens up a range of possibilities for SMEs who typically lack the financial wherewithal to buy the latest and best digital tools and struggle to handle fluctuations in demand.
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