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Category: Mobile CRM, Shop Floor Display, ERP Software

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IIoT and Smart Manufacturing

Thanks to ongoing advances in technology, manufacturing has gotten simpler over the past few decades. But in the words of the classic rock group Bachman Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Imagine the following as you walk through your shop floor:

  • Looking at a pallet of raw material through a pair of safety glasses and seeing how much is allocated to jobs and how much is available through the lens
  • Using your safety glasses to take a picture of a part before it ships, and the photo automatically attaches to the customer’s shipment notice
  • A wearable device glowing green, yellow or red, depending on whether jobs or machines are on schedule or behind, as you walk through the shop

Welcome to the future of manufacturing. Thanks to ERP software and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), it’s not as far away as you might think.

In fact, many believe we currently stand on the cusp of a new industrial revolution, where constantly evolving information technologies will not only make the management of manufacturing more effective but will also make the work itself smarter.

The result? Better quality. Faster response times. Better products.

Over the last few decades, ERP software systems like Global Shop Solutions have dramatically simplified manufacturing by integrating and improving the visibility of data throughout the enterprise. Now, new technologies based on the IIoT have the potential to create a quantum leap in data management – to the point where unit-level visibility will replace batch-level visibility. For the first time, manufacturers will have the ability to see each unit of production at every step of the process in unparalleled detail.

How’s that for simplifying manufacturing?!

“I like the fact that Global Shop Solutions continues to work hard at staying ahead of us by constantly adding new features to the system.”

– Pete Madrid, Production Manager, Bazz Houston

Connect with Real-Time Data from Anywhere

Currently, most manufacturing data finds its way into your ERP system through employee entry, integration with machines or software, scanning, bar coding, etc. Your data is typically viewed or consumed through a desktop or, if you are lucky, a mobile device. The future of ERP and simplifying manufacturing will tie the recording and consumption of data with new devices leveraging IIoT. This combination will drive efficiency to an unprecedented level for manufacturers.

As new technologies emerge, IIoT will enable ERP systems to help their manufacturing customers connect people, prospects, customers, suppliers, and facilities to any piece of data they want through any channel or device in real time.

Imagine using a handheld device to digitally scan a part that needs to be perfectly smooth. If rework is needed, the device immediately sends a notification to the machinist to fix or start producing a new part while automatically updating or informing the schedule and checking inventory. This is but one example of how IIoT will reinvent automation, data acquisition, and data consumption in manufacturing.

As with every major advancement, the efficiency and automation available through IIoT requires clearing some hurdles – the most obvious of which is cost. IIoT will require investing in new infrastructure, devices, connectivity, and training. But perhaps the biggest hurdle is yourself. Before attempting to take advantage of IIoT, your manufacturing must be rock solid.

  • Do you know your costs?
  • Do you know your inventory?
  • Can you flow your inventory and operations data to an accurate financial statement?
  • Do you have real time labor and material data from the shop floor?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, then you are ready to move your manufacturing forward with advanced best practices that take advantage of IIoT.

Complete Jobs On Time, Every Time

Let’s look at some of the ways IIoT is already impacting manufacturing, starting with your shop floor.

Historically, the shop floor was full of work orders tacked to a board or passed around from work station to work station. This process worked well for decades, but as demands and expectations have increased, so has confusion on the shop floor. Today, this confusion is being eliminated by leveraging the interconnection of the Internet and everyday things.

Now, manufacturers can view the latest work orders being completed on work centers – in real-time on the shop floor – by installing Internet capable TVs or displays that pull information directly from their ERP system. (Global Shop Solutions offers this capability through our TrueView™ product.) This handy IIoT capability eliminates piles of paper work orders and shop floor schedules that were often printed multiple times each day.

More important, these products eliminate confusion on the shop floor by allowing you to highlight the status of jobs in progress, including which ones are coming up next and which ones are behind schedule. When employees can see the list of jobs left to be done (within a date range that you define), there’s no more wondering which jobs still needs to be completed, and the highest priority work orders are completed on time, every time.

As Ken Simpkin of Compac Furniture states, “We know exactly what’s going on in the shop floor at any given time, which allows us to make better management decisions.”

Manage From Anywhere at Anytime

Another current IIoT breakthrough is mobile CRM (customer relationship management), which involves the use of mobile devices to see what’s going on within your company from remote locations. CRM serves as the gateway to all your key data and providing the best service and experience to your customers. Mobile CRM connects your ERP system, machines, and customer data into a single application that can be securely accessed from any Internet-connected device.

With mobile CRM, customer and prospect details are just a click away, no matter where you are. Your sales team can stay up-to-date with client information and sales goals. Executives and managers can access high-level business data 24/7 when they’re on the road. You don’t even have to wait to get back to the office to input new prospect data; simply enter it on your mobile device.

Almost every level of information available in your ERP system – including order management and history, job in progress, accounting details, and more – now travels with you. Even with facilities around the world, you can always be connected to every aspect of your business.

Mobile CRM also allows you to improve the customer experience by providing them with a branded version of the application. Your customers gain convenient and secure access to their current and past order history, shipping information, and accounting information. You reduce the amount of incoming emails and phone calls asking for updates by putting that information in the hands of your customer.

The best part of blending IIoT into the manufacturing environment is that we’re just beginning to imagine all that we can do. Nobody can say exactly what the manufacturing shop floor will look like in another 10 or 20 years. But one thing you can count on – Global Shop Solutions will be at the forefront of innovation as we continually work to simplify your manufacturing.

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