Ever thought about how your manufacturing unit can get leaner? Here is how on-floor digitization can help

posted by Shaurya Poddar on 13 November 2018

On one hand, we are on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution (Industries 4.0), where industry and science are joining hands to enhance knowledge and skills while on the other, most businesses are still carrying the weight of undigitized data and workflows.

Industries 4.0 talks about leveraging the power of data through IOT technologies, embedded computing, and cyber-physical systems, still most manufacturing and ancillary industries are figuring out how to start their digital transformation journeys.

Since Pragyaam started in the summer of 2017, we have got the opportunity of working with manufacturing companies in over 10 sectors across India, UK and Africa.

 Let’s see the flow of information in a traditional factory and how digitization can help it.  

Traditional Information Flow in Factories

The flowchart depicts the flow of information from one department to another once the purchase order is received from a customer till the time the order is delivered.

Traditional Flow information on factory floor
Traditional flow of information on factory floor

So, how does communication work in a traditional setup?

Manufacturers use spreadsheets, emails, accounting tools, rigid ERP systems or huge stashes of papers and registers to capture the flow of information and manage their workflows through the process.

All communications from the head office to the plant is done on spreadsheets or scanned documents through emails. The communication within the teams in the plant is usually done on paper receipts which move along with the production process and are compiled at the end of each day. These data points are then captured in spreadsheets by MIS experts and daily reports are sent to the head office.

There are other MIS experts who compile all the spreadsheets and reports to churn weekly and monthly reports for the management team to make decisions from. Multiple reports are recompiled based on ad-hoc requirements at various stages. This leads to many inefficiencies in the production process and costs them huge amounts in time, money and effort.

The new route: Digitize your Information Flow

With digitization, logistics and production processes can be intelligently integrated across multiple business functions. This creates a seamless flow of communication between multiple centers (including head office, factories, warehouses) to drive higher efficiencies and impact the business’s bottom line.

Digitization is becoming one of the vital tools for growth in the manufacturing sector making enterprises more flexible, efficient, and productive.

Using technologies like mobile apps for data collection, cloud computing and workflow management systems, manufacturers can gather structured analyzable data and pave the way for sustainable growth and real-time reporting.

From digitizing information flow to retrieving insights

Let’s imagine a scenario when every section of the plant is equipped with easy to use mobile apps to enter information about all the inputs and outputs of the processes, they are responsible for. Every data point collected is validated using predefined rules and is stored in a central database. What will the information flow then look like?

Digitised information flow on factory floor
Digitised flow of information on factory floor

In such a scenario, workflow will get enhanced with additive data collection which will be beneficial in analysis and forecasting. Here are a few examples:

  1. A manufacturing unit can analyze digital information collected from their inventory systems, procurement systems, PLM/product design system, etc. to reduce machine downtime, bottleneck, reduce inventories, changeover time, and make their production processes leaner and faster.
  2. It reduce material wastage which in turn will help the manufacturer reduce the production cycle and achieve optimization.
  3. Digital data collection and storage leads to creation of repositories on both the external (ex. customer purchase patterns) and internal points (year on year machine efficiency comparison) etc.

We will be talking in more details about each step in the manufacturing process and how technology can help drive more efficiency. Stay tuned!

You can also reach out to us here to understand how we can help your business.

Get a FREE demo right now.

Request a demo