IN A business environment of increasing competition, growing markets and rising customer expectation, it’s not going to be enough for manufacturers to simply maintain the status quo.
To survive and thrive, manufacturers must focus on growth, meaning they must embrace Industry 4.0 technologies.
Industry 4.0 encompasses the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including IoT, cloud computing and cognitive computing.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors and resellers are developing solutions that are Industry 4.0 ready. This follows an expectation of a boom in Industry 4.0 technologies as well as an increase in manufacturing processes that embrace the principles of the fourth industrial revolution.
So what makes Industry 4.0 so crucial in relation to ERP systems? Through the digitization of products and the processes that create them, a production environment that’s far superior, far more connected, and increasingly more efficient can be developed.
Despite most ERP manufacturers being aware of the anticipated Industry 4.0, according to a report by foresight, only 30 percent have begun to invest and utilize modern technologies in their processes. However, research has shown that those businesses who have jumped the digital bandwagon have experienced growth at above-average rates in the last three years.
According to Terri Hiskey, vice president of portfolio marketing-manufacturing at Epicor software, in order to best prepare for Industry 4.0, businesses need to analyse existing IT systems to see if their current ERP will be able to cope with the changing demands.
Hiskey suggests the following considerations as a good place to start:
What does your current ERP software architecture look like?
According to Hiskey, auditing and assesses your current software is crucial in order to see how “future-ready” it is. In a fast-moving Industry 4.0 world, ERP software acts as a central management platform for those along the supply chain which is subject to continuous requirements in terms of scalability, data management, and connectivity with third-party systems.
If frequent changes are costly and burdensome for your business, then your ERP systems may not be well suited to Industry 4.0.
How do your systems currently talk to each other?
Secondly, you should consider how different departments in your business relate and communicate with one another as well as what kind of data they share. In order to see the benefits of Industry 4.0, all departments should be able to have access to the same real-time production data on an ERP system.