Published on in ManufacturingDigital TransformationManufacturing

For those of us of a certain age, the business of navigating our way around our countries whilst driving a vehicle used to be an uphill challenge. I vividly remember relatives discussing the merits of the M5 over the A303 in the UK to get to London and would rattle off road names and numbers as if they were ordering from a local takeaway.

I also remember the need to buy a road Atlas every few years to get the latest information and more importantly because the old one had become torn For those interested in road safety and the use of mobiles, it was a regular activity of driving through unknown parts with an atlas on your lap! And when was the last time you were stopped in the street by a couple, clearly tense, asking the best way to their destination?

The world has moved on. I was an early adopter of a GPS unit connected via Bluetooth to a PDA (remember those?) in my car. It was revolutionary until the GPS lost contact (all too frequently!) with the PDA and often at the wrong moment. Dedicated devices soon appeared and became ubiquitous in our journeys, taking the stress out of travel. Today, those platforms have moved on with social interaction advising in real time of dangers, accidents and road closures. We can make decisions in real time and when I leave on a journey, I know with a high degree of certainty when I will arrive. This makes life so much easier to plan.

So what has this got to do with Manufacturing Cloud? Well, there was a time when planning was completed manually, often on paper and then on apps like Excel. ERP came along and with it brought together various manufacturing applications to give a single version of the truth but this information was often outdated. As SAP evolved so did the ability to pull together shop floor data capture, giving a much broader understanding of the manufacturing process. Dashboards became the main focus for obvious reasons; it gave the business the ability to make more informed decisions. The issue has always been that data has been a point in time, a bit like driving a car through the rear-view mirror rather than seeing ahead in real time and making decisions as events happen.

Digital Manufacturing Cloud (DMC) does just that. It brings together production data and connects your assets so you can understand in real time what is happening to them – are they working correctly or at all? This allows you to anticipate problems and to respond to unplanned events. It also allows you to analyse OT data in real time and make those efficiency savings your competitors are already implementing. It also allows you to improve quality and when things do go wrong you can perform root cause analysis to drill down to a plant or individual work centre.

More technically speaking, DMC solutions connect your top floor business systems to your shop floor equipment for local and global visibility across all plants. With DMC you may conduct your orchestra for efficient execution and monitoring of your production operations down to the individual work centre. This solution brings advantage for your manufacturing network to achieve greater flexibility and realise new business models.

There are two main components in the DMC, Manufacturing Execution System (MES), which manages your running production on the SAP Cloud Platform Orchestrate and controls the shop floor with out-of-the box integration to SAP ERP and S/4HANA. Since the MES has completed its task to provide the data and ensure the on-time operationality, the Manufacturing Insights (MI) will make informed decisions to increase productivity and performance of your production systems with real-time insights and root cause analysis. MI is capable for detecting product quality defects early in production with prediction models using machine learning.The solution offers options to collaborate with partners in the network to build digital inventories that optimise your offerings. Eventually, it creates the digital twin of the physical world (including any equipment and automation devices) and enables processes and an easy exchange of data in a manufacturing environment.

I know this is an investment at a time of uncertainty but ask yourself this: if the road networks were changing rapidly, the incidents rose and congestion increased, would a SatNav become more or less essential? ROI on DMC sits around 15% improvement in throughput with an implementation time of 12 – 16 weeks making it a compelling proposition for any manufacturer in a highly competitive market.

Call the SAP experts at Fujitsu today and let us help you navigate your journey to a more informed, efficient future.


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Gerren Mayne

Gerren Mayne is the UK Head of SAP Practice. He has worked in SAP for over twenty five years, initially as a SAP FICO consultant on R/3 before moving onto managing SAP implementation projects across EMEIA. Gerren moved into a Consultative Sales role during his tenure at IBM and has gone onto to lead SAP teams at Atos, HPE and Accenture before joining Fujitsu. Gerren believes passionately about the ability of SAP to transform businesses but thinks that organisations and partners need to take a new approach to ensure that customers achieve the right business outcomes through this investment.Gerren is passionate about supporting businesses in maximising their investment across SAP and to enable them to innovate, reduce costs and drive operational excellence to enable them to meet their strategic goals.

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