Smart Factories Mean Sweet Dreams For Customers And Manufacturers

Robert Merlo

Part 6 in the “Digital Manufacturing Series

Customers have a dream: personalized products that meet their unique specifications.

Cars with custom paint jobs that stand out on the road. Sneakers with soles designed to handle an individual’s specific workout regimen. Soda bottles with the buyer’s name printed on the label.

For many manufacturers, however, this dream is more like a nightmare. Why? Because meeting this demand for high-quality individualized goods is nearly impossible to do in a cost-efficient manner with outdated operational processes based on yesterday’s technology.

This is why organizations are looking to transform their facilities into open integrated factories – the kind that enable the visibility and flexibility needed to make their customers’ personalization dreams come true.

Breaking down silos

One major challenge is integrating operations. Every day, manufacturers rely on multiple equipment providers to run their factories. They also depend on teams of internal employees to monitor performance, collaborate with equipment providers for maintenance, and use the machines to execute production. The problem is that typically, these external equipment providers and internal teams work in silos. The result is a lack of transparency and insight.

But by embracing the latest technologies – the Internet of Things, digital twins, and more – manufacturers can break down these barriers, connect their processes, and achieve a unified view of the essential information required to improve production performance.

This total visibility gives equipment providers the real-time insight necessary to fix malfunctioning equipment or proactively prevent machines from breaking down. Internal employees, meanwhile, get access to the key data they need to collaborate with equipment providers more efficiently and develop customized goods at the point of production.

When the people and companies throughout a supply chain network are properly connected, they’re better equipped to make individualization a reality for customers.

A nimble approach to production

Integrating processes and gaining total visibility are key first steps to creating an intelligent enterprise.

Organizations that operate with increased intelligence have the ability to use their data to achieve desired outcomes faster. This empowers them to respond to individual customer needs and create disruptive business models that generate more revenue.

Manufacturers that build greater intelligence into their factories have the agility and operational responsiveness needed to create while still making a profit. Indeed, by running your personalization processes through a centralized digital core, you can develop customized goods with the same speed, cost, and efficiency as mass-produced products.

Additionally, smart factories enable businesses to adapt on the fly. If a machine on the assembly line is temporarily down, the manufacturer can automatically reroute the materials to a different, fully functioning piece of equipment that can finish the job without delay.

Manufacturers should strive to create this dynamic environment to ensure they’re consistently able to deliver on the expectations customers have for

Get moving on customization

Customers’ insatiable hunger for personalized products has inspired plenty of manufacturers to shift from mass production to mass customization.

For your organization to keep pace with competitors, it’s imperative to meet your customers’ need for individualized goods. But more than that, you must discover how to do it quickly and cost-efficiently while ensuring the highest quality standards.

Putting an open integrated factory at the heart of your manufacturing operations can help you achieve that dream once and for all.

Register to download the MPI white paper to learn more about the importance of jump-starting your digital transformation.


Robert Merlo

About Robert Merlo

Robert Merlo is Vice President of SAP Solution Marketing, responsible for Strategic Positioning of the Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing Portfolio of SAP Solutions. Specifically focused on R&D and Manufacturing.