Why Leveraging Technology is more Powerful than Innovating
IOT. IOTT. Industry 4.0. A lot of new words to support an existing concept. We see connectivity everywhere in our lives. It’s the thermostat in your home connected, it’s the payment terminals when you buy something at the store. Industry 4.0 in your production is no different -simply put, it’s the central control of data to drive optimal operational performance. Bringing valuable information into your existing systems and managing it, in a more effective and deliberate manner. But this doesn’t require a plethora of investment in new technology or software.
First order of business…explore what you have and leverage these first. If you have purchased new technology in the last 5 years for your manufacturing needs you have likely seen that systems from suppliers all have relevant components built in – minimizing the need for 3rd party suppliers providing additional ancillary equipment. Everything is simplified. So explore the technology and their capabilities specifically their interconnectivity and future proofing abilities.
Second order of business…take a step back. Meaning start with the end goal in mind. What data do you want to capture and what will you do with it? Do all your existing sensors, machines, and IT systems have the ability to speak to one another and can be leveraged to capture the data you wish to drive? If not, it’s time to explore where the gaps exist, holistically. And possibly those are the gaps that require new investments.
Third order of business…align with suppliers who “get it”. You can’t afford to have suppliers who look at things only from their own products’ perspective, resulting in “silos” across the supply chain process. Working with suppliers who understand your ERP/ SAP systems, who understand the respective machines on the production floor and their interconnectivity is critical. All too often, through my years here at Domino, I see time and time again manufacturers who either forget about syncing up coding technology to the “bigger picture” (resulting in errors from human intervention) OR who prefer not to get involved as automating equipment, within their industrial network, has long been deemed too complicated and too expensive. But a lot has changed in the world of manufacturing. Cost of interconnecting equipment has gone plummeted while the cost of rework and recalls have increased dramatically.
For codes to be meaningful for your business and your customers, they need to be accurate, from the date and batch information on the individual product, to the information on the boxes, all the way to up to the data displayed on the pallet label. It’s this level of precision that ensures the product gets to the right place at the right time. And this is where coding automation comes into play.
Everything matters in this new realm of manufacturing excellence, therefore, take some time and start exploring what you already have today and how they interact, before exploring new innovations. Because based on our experience, we know firsthand that innovation can likely be done TODAY with what you have, providing you with the tools to start preparing the path for full Industry 4.0 migration and creating momentum internally to continue the path of total integrations. The only limitations are you and your teams and what you believe you are capable of today.