Manufacturing Re-Imagined

How can manufacturing ERP systems and related technologies solve manufacturing challenges using new approaches?

That was the question our manufacturing experts answered at “Manufacturing Re-Imagined,” a joint Microsoft and mcaConnect manufacturing event recently held in Chicago. The key manufacturing experts sharing their insights were:

  • Mark Beckmann, Microsoft, Senior Manager for Manufacturing Sectorshutterstock_421484053-1
  • Doug Bulla, mcaConnect, VP, Business Development
  • Mike Green, mcaConnect, VP, Solution Consulting

Here are some of the manufacturing insights they shared.

Disruptive Digital Innovation with IoT (Internet of Things)

IoT (Internet of Things) is one of the most exciting and most promising new manufacturing concepts to gain traction in the last decade. Devices connected to the Internet and the company’s ERP system can relay information about temperature, gauge pressure, volume, usage and acceptable variances automatically and affordably. Based on these readings, the system can perform an assortment of triggered actions to minimize downtime and increase efficiency overall.

Mark Beckmann of Microsoft shared how the manufacturing sector is going through a “Disruptive Digital Innovation.” Even companies and industries who today consider themselves as being “analog in a digital world” will be compelled to embrace the digital connectedness in the near future…because they won’t be able to resist it! Showing case studies and research conducted through Microsoft’s Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute, Mark made the argument that the digital disruptive impact on the market will come at 100 times the pace of physical disruptions.

Convergence of Disparate Technologies

Technological advancements in the manufacturing sector are coming from multiple directions. While some companies will add each tool as needed in a logical, sequential order, what’s really exciting is how these tools are being combined, completely changing the go-to-market strategy of manufacturers looking for strategic advantages. Doug Bulla of mcaConnect shared customer stories and his perspective on the trends he’s spotted from global manufacturers. What he predicts is that manufacturers of all sizes will be placing more emphasis on combining cloud computing with big data and machine learning. This convergence of technologies will enable manufacturers to leap ahead of their competitors and create differentiation in the market place.

Getting Timely, Actionable Insight

For years, software has promised to “deliver information to your fingertips.” However, the reality for many has been more akin to “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” Data is everywhere. Timely insight is often still elusive.

Visual dashboards, easily customized for each job role, are changing the accessibility of business analytics within the organization. Mike Green of MCA Connect showed examples of how customers are using dashboards in their executive offices, on the production floor, on the go through portable devices and via verbal queries using Cortana Analytics capabilities. Reporting is becoming obsolete for day-to-day function, useful primarily for retrospective review.

Microsoft has long focused on the idea of a business transformation by empowering the individual worker. Their enterprise solutions, including Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, serve to help employees visualize and perform task-related functions, right alongside analytical information that enables better decision making. Microsoft continues to re-imagine manufacturing, continually adding capabilities, and helping companies understand the advantages of embracing the cloud, Azure, Power BI and other tools.

Where do you see manufacturing technology going next?

Author: Mike Green

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