What is the factory of the future? When I think about the future for manufacturing companies I envision the basics and at a minimum, workers having mobile access to their work orders, instructions, and their time sheets. Ultimately having immediate access to quality tests and results, and deprecating inventory from the work order would be ideal. Integration to suppliers and distributors through EDI with a robust ERP with strong inventory forecasting or master planning module would be key. The next steps would be building a service department focused on the repair and maintenance, and preventative or predictive maintenance of the products produced. Adding a set of technology tools such as remote monitoring through Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and AI to next to existing ERP would be ideal.
Manufacturing technology seem to be moving at a rate I have not seen in the 20 plus years working with this industry. I have not worked in a manufacturing plant or a job shop, but I do help manufacturing companies choose ERP technology. Microsoft is a leader in the latest in technology with the help of their customers such as ThyssenKrupp Elevator, and Rolls-Royce (aircraft manufacturing and services). The top solutions are Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (ERP), IoT-based sensing, cloud-based computing technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive services all on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. How are these technologies used to optimize the manufacturers supply chain is the big question. Here is my understanding of the technology:
- Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
- Full ERP solution with Finance, Master Planning, Production, Projects (the best projects modules I have seen), Sales and Marketing, Service Management, HR, Warehouse Management, etc., and fully mobile too with easy integration tools.
- IoT Based Sensing
- Remote monitoring of equipment such as freezers, and other assets. This technology is one of the easiest to implement since setup and integration to software is much easier today.
- AI and Cognitive Services
- Artificial intelligence is becoming very important to some of the large manufacturers. Per a recent Forbes Insights survey "44% of respondents from the automotive and manufacturing sectors classified AI as “highly important” to the manufacturing function in the next five years, while almost half—49%—said it was “absolutely critical to success.” Forbes goes on to say that Landin.ai has created an ''automated issue identification" which will identify microscopic defects that the human eye can't see.
In most manufacturing companies that I have visited over the years are missing out on the basics such as a fully integrated ERP system, much less having mobile access the software on any device or IoT. However, that is where Clients First fills the first gap by offering Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. We get manufacturing companies on the path to a factory of the future. You have to start somewhere and without the basic business software in place to analyze inventory and labor costs, track quality, and handle all the operations and financial aspects of your business. Even if you don't want your shop floor or production team entering time and updating inventory or work orders, having a good foundation in place for a clerk to enter this information is paramount in remaining competitive.
For more information on Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, contact us at 800-331-8382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Clients First located in Dallas, Texas and Minneapolis, Minnesota serve Dynamics AX and 365 companies worldwide.
Microsoft is enabling the Factory of the Future to be a reality today, through innovative solutions such as the Connected Factory Solution, Predictive Maintenance, and Remote Monitoring.