Manufacturing Operations Management: Weaving a “Digital Thread” for Greater Competitive Advantage


Manufacturers face tremendous pressures to increase agility, improve product quality, and further tighten compliance. Meanwhile they are experiencing a barrage of information about how new disruptive technologies – smart manufacturing, Big Data/analytics, cloud, and the Internet of Things – will change the face of manufacturing.

Today’s technology capabilities are enabling the integration of information across the entire product lifecycle – from design, through engineering, manufacturing, delivery, and service — to a digital model that allows immediate and actionable information to reach the necessary departments and functions with greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency than ever before.

This trend toward complete digitization is helping manufacturers meet the growing demands of time, technology and customer expectations. LNS Research says manufacturers must look to incorporate a “Digital Thread” -- the concept of a single, unbroken thread of required information throughout the value chain that is accessible to all departments across the extended value enterprise and ensures complete traceability from design, through production, and to the customer.

The Digital Thread is a key concept in the development and deployment of next-generation manufacturing operations management (MOM) software platforms and applications, says analyst firm LNS Research in its new report “The Global State of Manufacturing Operations Management Software” which surveyed more than 250 manufacturers worldwide.

Smart Devices and Big Data on the Manufacturing Floor 
Driving the move to digitization is today’s Industry 4.0 market, which is the next phase of the industrial revolution marked by smart devices that communicate and transfer data from machines without human-to-human or human-to-machine interaction.

According to the survey, plant supervisors (54%) and plant managers (53%) were the top two job roles to receive real-time data on mobile devices. When understanding the impact of Big Data in manufacturing, 46% said it provides better forecasts while 45% said Big Data allowed then to better understand multiple metrics. The IoT is making machines and devices more intelligent, creating new data and enabling new means of collaboration.

Driving the Need for Enterprise-Wide Next Generation MOM Software
Faster market activity, increased competition and customer demands have made traditional approaches to MOM software obsolete. According to LNS, a next-generation, platform approach to MOM simplifies architecture, eliminates duplication of systems and functionality, and facilitates open integration with both legacy applications and new technologies such as Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, and IoT -- important strands of the Digital Thread.

To fully facilitate Digital Thread strategies, LNS advocates an enterprise-wide approach to MOM. Per LNS, “The holistic performance benefits afforded by taking an enterprise approach to MOM software are a critical step toward the future vision of weaving a consistent Digital Thread throughout the value chain.”

As a sponsor of the research study, Epicor invites you to download a complimentary copy of The Global State of Manufacturing Operations Management Software eBook.

Posted by Tom Muth, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor


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