Good afternoon, it’s Friday.
It’s time for an update on the 3 most interesting developments in the metals industry.
1) Application of artificial intelligence for planning
Planning is a time-consuming activity for many companies.
Automatic scheduling that you find in most ERP does not always work well because:
- Data is only of the moment (cannot predict trend) ⇨ Unreliable
- Often logic is limited (no QRM approach) ⇨ Too long waiting times
- Changes require planning to be done again ⇨ Too manual
- Buffers are fix set (no dynamic adjustment) ⇨ Sometimes unnecessary waiting, sometimes too tightly scheduled.
Researchers at FIP-AM and the University of Twente have done a project for this, together with a number of players in the sheet metal industry. And the results look promising!
The primary goal of the KORT project was to find a solution to improve flow and reduce lead times, in a way that the solution was applicable to all participating sheet metal working companies.
I think this is a nice insight into where we are going: dynamic planning, without us as humans having to constantly adjust it.
Read the article here at Metal News
2) Business Central goes sheet metal (with a price tag)
ERP is obviously super important to your business. And cloud systems have a lot to offer. One of the coolest newcomers to the market is Business Central.
The good thing: more and more companies are putting an extra layer over this ERP, making it more and more suitable for the sheet metal industry. One of them is Halloy, which recently launched a CAM integration solution. In Flanders, for example, you also see Metal Manager from ESC. Very cool developments and here I am definitely in favor.
The question mark: Dynamics is still fairly new and not all the features you are used to in the high-end solutions in the Dutch market are in it right away. Of course these will come, but you have to have the patience and faith. Plus the number of consultants is still limited.
My concern: if you want to get started with an ERP solution that is entirely in the cloud, you often have to buy it through a reseller, and the creator keeps the lead: Microsoft. Well, early this month they announced that they had raised prices on all products, having first done the same with Dynamics.
Some players try to come in with a low rate and then, if there are enough users, raise it. I don’t know if this is the case, but it’s just my thought/concern.
3) WiCAM comes with offer2order
A long-awaited development has now been delivered by WiCAM: a web shop solution.
After working on an API and cloud-based calculation solution (PN Cloud) for the past few years, a nice front-end (the website you use) with cool features has now emerged that allows companies to open a new portal for their customers.
The product has the advantage of being brand-independent. Still, there are certainly some other players they will have to compete with with their late entry into the market.
Until the next 3 innovations mail.