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Sep 26 2012

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Unlocking Manufacturing Intelligence, Part 2

In my previous post, I discussed the challenges and pitfalls associated with attempting to manage shop floor data with either an integrated ERP – BI implementation or standalone Manufacturing Intelligence (MI) deployment. In this post, I will focus on the benefits of taking a global platform approach.

With such a high volume of manufacturing data to consider in decisions and analysis, it is as difficult as it is important to determine which blend of processes and solutions a company should choose to effectively manage it. In these decisions, the impact of planning for and implementing the right Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solution should not be discounted.

One trend I have noticed in this area with some of the manufacturers we work with is a shifting paradigm toward taking a global, platform-based approach to Manufacturing Intelligence, with a focus on fully leveraging a next generation MOM combined with Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities.

While the list of advantages to this approach is long, here I will focus on just those that have the largest impact on managing shop floor data.

Benefits of Business Process Management (BPM) in Manufacturing

BPM is a relatively new and emerging space in enterprise IT. It is both an approach that allows companies to create automated and interoperable work processes across the enterprise. BPM can act as the glue between applications while also providing an environment to explicitly model, visualize, automate and optimize workflows.

Even more recently, purpose-built BPM solutions for the manufacturing industry have emerged. These manufacturing BPM solutions, such as Apriso’s FlexNet, do many of the same things as BPM solutions targeted at the enterprise. The difference is that these manufacturing-focused solutions specifically address the challenges of attaining real-time visibility and making sense of disparate data types and processes found on the shop floor. Using standardized manufacturing data and BPM capabilities on the shop floor unlocks greater benefits from your Manufacturing Intelligence solution. When a company has the ability to model, visualize, optimize and execute processes with accurate real-time information, shop floor data can come alive.

Just as with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Business Intelligence (BI), there is an emerging parallel with MOM and MI, which is enhanced by BPM. The high integrity of MOM data offered by MI has much greater strength when coupled with process and model intelligence of BPM. As a result, the data has a significantly greater value having gone through this refinement.

One benefit of linking MOM information globally, for example, is that Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is no longer calculated in a vacuum. Understanding the availability, efficiency and quality of your equipment allows for more effective production and planning. Information can be compiled to keep production levels between plants in line with current demands, as well as staying in accordance with supplier schedules. As a consequence, with a global approach to MOM, the implications of high or low OEE can be better understood in the context of end-to-end supply chain management.

Companies should not take a myopic or short-term approach to Manufacturing Intelligence. Instead, companies should gear implementations toward using BPM for tighter integration between MOM and MI. Beyond simply integrating data between applications, BPM can be used to synchronize processes to ensure the data being extracted is highly current, relevant and delivered within the right business context. Leading manufacturers understand how easy it is to waste resources with improper planning. Failed MI implementations or using a BI-ERP solution not only results in a serious loss in the value of data, but impedes growth and performance of your operations down the road.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2012/09/unlocking-manufacturing-intelligence-part-2/

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