If I've learned anything from the recent return to in-person events, it's that nothing can match the energy and depth of insight gained from face-to-face interactions. At EASTEC, I spent three days speaking with local manufacturers, suppliers, and customers, and it is clear that the urgency to embrace shop floor digitalization has arrived.
Over the course of the pandemic, manufacturers have navigated volatile market conditions leading most to realize that adoption of effective automation and data-driven strategies is a requirement for success. Those who don’t make this evolution today will quickly fall behind tomorrow.
That said, despite the undeniable potential for operational improvement and competitive advancement, there was an ever-present sentiment of self-doubt from many manufacturers about leveraging data. I tried my best to capture these thoughts and my rebukes of them below:
Most manufacturers assume leveraging technology is a huge lift, likely a product of traumas from ERP or MES implementations of the past. The reality is that there’s an ecosystem of modern manufacturing data software solutions, like MachineMetrics, that are plug-and-play and do not require significant resources or custom development on your team before achieving ROI.
There is an undeniable labor shortage across manufacturing, and it’s true that ERP/MES Systems are heavily dependent on manual data input. Fortunately, software solutions like MachineMetrics solve this problem by automating tasks that are historically manual and time-consuming, alleviating the responsibilities of your workforce and driving decisions to people, not the other way around.
This self-deprecating notion is just simply not true. Most manufacturers are just starting their digital transformations. Sure, some have accelerated faster than others, but, in reality, every day wasted with this thought is another day where you could actually be getting ahead of someone else. Thus, there is no time to waste.
Manufacturers want to pursue automation but put it off due to seemingly conflicting priorities like purchasing new production equipment or updating outdated business systems, but there is no time to waste when adopting Industry 4.0 solutions. In fact, adopting machine automation in parallel with other new technology investments is a great way to maximize the impact and overall value. Any time spent waiting to be ready is value lost.
Manufacturers want to start innovating again. Today, the greatest detractors from manufacturing innovation are manual tasks that require front-line workers and engineers to misallocate their time toward non-competencies. New technologies reduce the need for human intervention by automating manual burdens and tasks such as data collection and analytics, removing them from workers’ daily purview and enabling the prioritization of innovation.
Many of the EASTEC attendees I spoke with expressed that these Industry 4.0 solutions were no longer “nice to have” but instead a “must-have” for success. This moment represents a unique opportunity for all manufacturers to drive continuous improvement and product innovation by leveraging data and integrating automation.
At MachineMetrics, we’re dedicated to enabling manufacturers not only to begin, but also to accelerate their digital transformation. Whether you are struggling with technical challenges, or simply a lack of confidence, we can help you drive a best-in-breed technology stack leveraging accurate, real-time production data from your equipment.
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