Creating the Intelligent Enterprise for Manufacturers

20 09 2019
  • operations
  • IT
  • discrete manufacturing
  • SAP

Discrete Manufacturing is an important part of the UK economy, representing over 44% of UK exports with further growth expected. It was reported by The Manufacturer last year that growth is expected to continue at a positive rate, which is very encouraging. However, despite the positive growth in the market, the pace of digital adoption of next-gen technologies lags behind other advanced economies. The UK ranks 22nd in the world for adoption of advanced digital technologies (ADTs) such as IoT, Robotics and AI. This, combined with the industry challenges that pre-date ADTs has resulted in a need to create the intelligent enterprise.

What challenges are we facing

As well as slow adoption of new technology, the industry faces some very specific challenges, crucially, around visibility within the supply chain and uncertainty the markets we operate in. Other considerations include speed to market, given the levels of competition bought by short product life-cycles and product variation, driven by new market sectors, but also by bringing together hardware, software and new service models.

There are compelling events in industry that drive challenges for us that change the way we operate, such as…

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Entering new markets
  • Developing new business models

These all drive challenges with the business that demand new technology to support growth and change. The way in which we report and analyse data changes with the business too. A consideration has to be made for managing data accuracy and KPIs, how we develop reporting with the changing KPIs and what to do when new KPIs are being enabled by the business.

We must also consider some of the practical problems within the business, such as inventory holding and excess stock, capacity modelling, and understanding the need and distribution of capacity, tracking products, tracking process and the rate of change of products and how to maintain your business assets. 

How is a platform fit for the purpose?

The challenge for us all is that we are increasingly tech-savvy since the last ERP solutions were deployed. At home for example, we use simple mobile-based user interfaces, we share real-time information and we receive alerts through these devices when we need to take action. In our domestic life we use these new technologies daily, so why is it such a challenge to collaborate in this way in our businesses to address some of the issues identified?

We've considered the challenges industry leaders are facing and now you have to consider if the technology you have is fit for purpose as much as you are changing as an industry and we changing as a society, and whether or not the platform delivers the right capabilities for your business. This dynamic, technology-driven change as products with embedded technology become surprisingly smart and customers are becoming increasing tech-savvy, demands new levels of digital intimacy and capability. There is increasing complexity and type of business operation that need the support of intelligent technologies.

Becoming an intelligent enterprise

So what does this mean for the platform of the future? The way we look at this is that we say that the future platform needs to be fit for purpose. It’s interesting to see what the demands from our customer base have been from industry and how we have responded, and these are the sort of things we are bringing together and taking to market in response to the demands of industry leaders.

Firstly, we recognise the drive to break down business silos from top-floor to shop-floor, and between business functions. This has resulted in what we're calling the intelligent network which shares real-time information across the business within a digital core. Then there’s the need to speed up how information is shared across the business network, exploiting cloud to simplify decision making and take costs and complexity out of the business. And finally, how can we exploit automation to enable scale and manage complexity using machine learning, AI and connecting IOT to business processes. 

We connect these technologies to simplify processes within our domestic lives, but less so when it comes to our business. Bringing this all together as a platform to support your business future, that's what we're describing as you becoming an ‘Intelligent Enterprise’, utilising cloud solutions and smart data management, it's important that you transform to become an intelligent enterprise. 

How can this very complex world become a reality for your business?

FAST Engineer is the solution that addresses the topic challenges above. As a solution implementation organisation, we have learned from the experience of engaging with companies that have these challenges and issues and we've taken this on board to define and develop capability as well as solutions that deliver value as efficiently as possible. This comes under the banner of ‘FAST Engineer’, which is all about the optimisation we alluded to around visibility, agility and control. 

We can help your manufacturing organisation become an Intelligent Enterprise with FAST Engineer. Watch our 30min webinar to find out how we’ve helped other manufacturing organisations drive innovation and build a platform that’s fit for purpose and ready for the future.