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The 7 Steps To A Smart Factory

Every manufacturing company goes through a series of 7 steps to achieve a smart self-driving factory. That's what I had the opportunity to talk about last week during a presentation at TUWI Next 2023. Click on the link for the replay.

The 7 steps are:

1. Organize: map processes, analyze waste, document vision, mission, strategy and goals/outcomes of your transformation.

2. Centralize data: a modern ERP system is a must-have to keep up. You must be able to rely 100% on your data. Remember: Garbage in = Garbage out.

3. Connecting systems: You will link systems such as CAM, CAD and various MES applications to the central system so that retyping becomes unnecessary and data can be freely exchanged in both directions. Ideal a best-of-breed approach: use apps to provide systems deficiencies.

4. Data to information: Unlock all your data to a central database. This can be done through data warehousing, an ERP database and/or low-code applications with multiple sources. For example, Power BI along with DataMarts.

5. Enterprise-wide knowledge: Build helpful dashboards and screens that you can share throughout the organization including the shop floor. Ideally, the team itself indicates what it wants to see. Bonus points if you build the dashboard yourself, because your data is already neatly structured.

6. Predictive analytics: Uses tools such as "forecasting" to predict the future. Let algorithms do the work of estimating what will happen. This can also be done for determination of machine cycle times, prices and even stock levels etc.

7. Self-Directed Factory: Now link this to workflow actions that automatically perform certain actions in your factory, such as ordering products, controlling self-driving vehicles or starting certain programs on an automatic robot cell etc.

Would you like help to carefully go through these 7 steps in your metal business? Feel free to respond to this post, or schedule a call appointment.