Simply put, every manufacturer experiences the same struggle of managing a multitude of customers, delivery schedules, suppliers, manufacturing resources, and factory-floor work orders. Mix in the additional HR and financial components, and manufacturers quickly become highly complex organizations. Success ultimately depends on each department to function in sync, or bottlenecks may appear and bring the operation to a halt. The collective efforts to keep all the cogs turning are relentless and under-appreciated, but the cohesiveness makes manufacturing rewarding when parts deliver to satisfy a customer.
Enter an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Since the late 80s, ERPs have offered a solution to keep all business activities aligned through automation, added visibility, quick access to data, and clarity across departments. ERPs are the backbone of a company’s decision-making process, and they are one of the most critical components of a manufacturer aside from the people and machinery.
Many ERPs are sold with lofty promises. And while some claims are warranted, integrations can be an expensive slog, and lack of discipline can quickly render the system ineffective. For the manufacturers that recognize full value in an ERP solution, we at MachineMetrics applaud your efforts. Fortunately for all types of ERP users, MachineMetrics is available to help.
MachineMetrics’ data monitoring platform is not designed to replace an ERP. Instead, it can sit alongside and develop a level of synergy with existing ERP or manufacturing software. In an ideal scenario, the ERP manages all business inputs and generates a production schedule, then machine monitoring is used to track the execution of the schedule and automate the flow of data back into the ERP. The ERP is then empowered with faster, more accurate data to then drive future scheduling models.
Most manufacturers are probably familiar with the lean concept of one-piece flow as it relates to a part moving through the factory floor. The same principle can be applied to the feedback loop that relates scheduling and execution. Once-daily entry of production data into an ERP is a batch process and leaves the ERP system working with outdated information. It can also be time consuming and error prone from a data entry perspective. With MachineMetrics, the speed of the feedback loop can be greatly accelerated for a truly lean decision-making process.
(here's a brief example of how MM integrates with an ERP such as EPICOR)
Bad data entry can rapidly render a system obsolete. For manufacturers that are on rocky terms with their ERP or had unsuccessful integration experiences, there is no reason to fear a similar experience with a data monitoring system. The MachineMetrics platform collects information directly from machines’ controls or secondary sensors. User input is requested in a few key instances to add context to the information, but the data is otherwise populated automatically, which serves as a level of error proofing and minimizes risk of bad data.
Additionally, the MachineMetrics dashboard interfaces and reporting tools are designed for user-friendliness. The majority of the pages are read only; unlike an ERP, MachineMetrics is safe to click through without causing irreparable damage or initiating a chain of transactions. For the latter reasons, the MachineMetrics platform takes a small fraction of the time to adopt compared to an ERP. All MachineMetrics subscribers are also assigned a Customer Success Manager to offer unlimited training and optimization for their unique environment with the goal of providing continued value over the life of the service and ensuring effectiveness. Users will never be left hanging with an obsolete system.
Manufacturing environments produce a tremendous amount of data. MachineMetrics aims to capture it and organize it in a way that it is valuable to managers, operators, and existing systems. It’s hard to imagine operations prior to the proliferation of ERPs in the 90s. Machine monitoring is the next solution to establish as a requirement for the modern manufacturer, and it’s for the exact same reasons that popularized ERPs three decades ago. MachineMetrics is revolutionizing manufacturing with new levels of visibility and clarity across organizations.