Companies that change the way they operate from traditional linear manufacturing to a more natural-based process have a great future. When they can respond to demands of their customers on one side and their suppliers on the other, they can shape a new value stream.
“How?” you ask. Well, it’s already begun. Companies have invested significantly in IT, but mainly for their transaction systems. While that is important, it’s mostly about recording transactions and finances, generating relatively little value in manufacturing output. What generates true value is when the right data is available to support better decisions, create better designs and run better operations.
Value comes in connecting the streams of the process end-to-end — from ideation through manufacturing and all the way to consumers. That value network connects design decisions with supply chain decisions or manufacturing operations decisions. Those connections enable the agility to make adjustments and deliver individualized, emotional experiences that each consumer can “own.”
A lot of this comes from optimization, but it begins with digital continuity — having the systems and processes in place to capture, track and evaluate data from across the enterprise. At Dassault Systèmes, we use the term 3DEXPERIENCE® twin, a digital virtual model of what is happening in the real world. It fully replicates the design you’re manufacturing, the steps in the process and the execution. Embedded sensors on the shop floor (or even in the product itself) provide a real-time view of what is happening, from both a design and an execution perspective.
This federated view can immediately show whether a product is “available to promise”. Modeling a product and its production process shows very quickly how it’s made, whether raw materials and components are available, how long it takes and how much it will cost. We can perform analytics on the real-world operation and the impact of design changes on the operation using historical and available market data. With digital continuity from design to execution and back, we can predict the effects of choices early in the design process, before they actually become cost factors in production.
Some industries, such as aircraft and car manufacturing, are making relatively good progress in capturing their designs and operations digitally. Others, mostly in process industries, have some digital lab management, but have not yet transformed that product model into manufacturing and operations. Many siloed organizations want to take steps and make changes, but struggle with the need to change their organization and processes to be much more focused on product.
Companies are transforming themselves to increase the value they add and be more adaptive by embracing technology advances (e.g. 3D printing, Internet of Things, robotics) with a mindset of continuous improvement. A network of manufacturing-based companies loosely connected through an integrated digitalized platform creates an ecosystem that is able to respond to changes in demand and deliver individualized products to their consumers. Such is the value network of manufacturing in the age of experience.
If you want to explore further the technologies and trends of today’s manufacturing, join us at the Manufacturing in the Age of Experience conference on November 7-8 in Shanghai. Industry experts and leading companies will share how you too can add value to your operations through digitalization. For more information or to register, click here.