Better together

The value of transforming data into actionable intelligence

Today, the typical manufacturer has between 20 and 40 information systems in any given facility. Despite good intentions, these largely exist as “data islands” and, because of historical difficulty in integrating these islands, decisions are often based on only the most immediately relevant system, with scant regard for the overall business picture. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have long held out the promise of improving this situation, but the reality is that there is a significant difference between making a business decision and implementing it in real-time manufacturing operations. Also, while ERP systems are very good at ensuring business rules are followed, they typically work on data that is periodically consolidated, which, by definition, is not current.

Another favorite focus area is process improvement. But improvements are often too narrowly targeted and fail to take account of impact on the entire supply chain. Broadening scrutiny to cover topics like product consistency improvement can reduce both raw material and finished goods inventories, lower transportation costs and improve cash flow. This can have a tremendous impact on the net profitability of a company, but this impact can only be properly assessed if all the relevant subsystems collaborate.

What is needed, then, is a true collaborative model. The good news is that technology has now caught up with the requirements: Collaboration between systems is no longer prohibitively expensive, or limited in functionality. And such collaboration is already having a big impact on major companies today

Read the full article to find out more about collaboration and changing business paradigms

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About the author

Andreas Moglestue

I'm Chief Editor of the ABB Review magazine.
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