Beyond a Platform for Manufacturing Operations

Over the past several years you have likely read on this blog and other publications about the virtues of taking a “platform-based” approach to manufacturing operations management. This blog has presented the benefits of leveraging Business Process Management (BPM) as part of the process. Manufacturing Transformation has also postulated a world where a three platform strategy might be best – comprising a platform for MOM, ERP and PLM.

The benefits of taking a “platform-based” approach to an IT systems infrastructure are significant. Here are five that come to mind:

  1. Better efficiency – applications running on the same platform will operate with greater efficiency, so are easier to implement, maintain and improve
  2. Better user experience – it is advantageous if multiple tasks can be performed form within a single interface
  3. Better global solution – those operating on a global scale seek to standardize process, product quality and continuous improvement; these tasks are more easily performed when leveraging an operations platform to distribute and consistently execute a business process the same across locations
  4. Improve internal collaboration – by sharing a common IT system, it is likely that communications can be improved. For example, it is easier to address an issue if all parties are working on the same system, share the user experience and have a common set of definitions and background on the system
  5. Work better with outside contractors – a more structured IT platform can offer a more secure, efficient way to interact with 3rd parties, suppliers or outside contractors by providing “windows” of visibility only pertaining to their activities, processes or requirements needs, providing better security to your Intellectual Property

It follows, then, that if you could create an environment whereby not just your production or manufacturing processes, but all processes resided on a, single platform – a foundation that extended beyond manufacturing operations to engineering and design, sales and marketing and customer support. Perhaps then a truly “nirvana” type of scenario might be possible whereby operational visibility could be extended to all departments, customer service representatives could see actually when an order was set for completion and be shipped, and marketing professionals could know exactly when a new campaign triggered a new sale – all in near real-time.

Here is a video showing what this type of user experience might resemble for an Industrial Equipment manufacturer, as a visual demonstration of what possibilities now exist with the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform that is now available and being implemented at companies all over the world:

There are several scenarios that are demonstrated on this video, including how an engineer can perform visual renderings and simulation to see how a part might actually be manufactured. Collaboration across the supply chain can be improved, helping to reduce waste and increase responsiveness to changing market conditions. Compliance managers can readily access information to facilitate more efficient compliance adherence. Knowledge could be more readily captured, to then be available on a go forward basis as needed. Alerting mechanisms can be coordinated across a wider range of “actors” or users.

Here is a link to learn more about what possibilities now exist.

What do you think? Can you imagine implementing such a solution at your organization? I look forward to comments and feedback.


Gordon can be found on Google+ .

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