Smart Manufacturing Is Not About Technology

Smart Manufacturing Is Not About Technology

John Clemons consults for Rockwell Automation and Maverick Technologies, a primary system-impartial automation alternatives company.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is very well underway, and it is really transforming manufacturing back into an financial powerhouse. Concepts guiding clever producing are fueling it.

There are lots of systems coming collectively to aid intelligent production, which include the Industrial Net of Issues (IIoT), artificial intelligence, digital threads, electronic twins, cloud and edge computing, just to identify a several.

Basically, intelligent manufacturing is definitely just sensible folks employing smart technology to change the small business, generate new business strategies, streamline and do away with business and producing procedures and empower teams to travel the business ahead, undertaking new issues never ever before probable.

There is a whole lot of clever producing technological know-how out there, but in the end, good production is not about the engineering. It truly is about what can be done with the technological know-how.

New Enterprise Techniques

Wise production is about developing new company tactics, and it commences with embracing producing as a main competency. There are many vital facets to managing a thriving business enterprise organization this kind of as funds, buying, advertising, profits and distribution, human methods, supply chain, logistics and a lot more.

Nonetheless, if you are a manufacturing organization, then the precise production of your solutions demands to be on that checklist. Manufacturing wants to be a single of your core competencies, and you need to have to embrace production as a main competency. That usually means you devote in it, you make it superior, you use it as a important differentiator, you do the job to continuously improve it, you hire the best individuals you can to operate in it, you purchase the very best equipment you can, you prepare your people today constantly and significantly much more. It signifies no make a difference what other kind of enterprise you view yourself as—a advertising and marketing corporation, a consumer-centric organization or whatever—you also see on your own as a production enterprise with manufacturing as one particular of your main competencies.

With producing as a core competency, you can use that basis to establish new business enterprise approaches and manufacturing procedures that can differentiate you from your competitiveness and can develop your market place share and your company.

For illustration, mass customization can be a enterprise approach. It truly is the opposite of mass generation. Mass manufacturing is all about developing mass numbers of solutions that are all alike. Mass customization is all about producing a mass range of goods that are all unique, tailored particularly for every single individual shopper.

Products as a company can also be a company technique. This can take the product or service to the upcoming degree. It indicates you have an understanding of how your purchaser uses your product or service, and you present products and services wrapped all around your products to help your shoppers use your merchandise much better, do new matters with your product or service and, most in particular, greater provide their shoppers with your products and solutions.

Empowered Teams

Sensible producing is about empowering groups to do new and much better issues that ended up hardly ever before assumed feasible. It is really about providing the schooling to the teams so they understand the fundamental specifics of what is going on and why it is really going on. It’s about supplying them with the ideal equipment and the proper information at the correct time so they can make conclusions. It really is about empowering them to get cost and make points superior, generating changes along the way to enhance the business enterprise.

If people today do not have the data they want to make conclusions, it typically indicates the decisions basically you should not get produced and practically nothing changes, or the decisions are delayed far too lengthy until finally the effects of the conclusion is practically negligible.

It signifies the groups are educated to comprehend the facts they have and what it genuinely means, they are properly trained to draw the right conclusions from the knowledge and they are empowered to make selections and get steps. Not just normal process steps, but new actions. Actions to change things and make items superior. Actions to get the small business in new directions simply because they are empowered to make points much better.

Streamlined Processes

Sensible production is about streamlining and getting rid of processes that usually are not wanted. The previous detail you want to do with sensible producing is applying the technological innovation to automate a mess simply because then all you will have is an automated mess.

Sensible manufacturing carried out suitable signifies there should really be lots of legacy processes that basically aren’t wanted anymore—processes that have grown up about time to fill in the gaps in the manufacturing procedures and the enterprise processes as properly as the gaps in know-how and instruments. With sensible producing, these legacy processes may perhaps be removed or, if not eradicated, streamlined.

Sensible production finished right suggests the solution to production modifications. For illustration, as an alternative of trying to examination the quality of a merchandise, high-quality is built into the item from the beginning. First-move high-quality will become 1 of the driving metrics of the production operations. That signifies the method to tests can and should alter. The tests processes really should be streamlined, and a lot of of them need to be eradicated mainly because wise producing presents a new strategy to the company and to manufacturing.

With regard to processes in this article, I am conversing about producing processes, organization procedures, physical procedures and digital processes. All processes should really be on the table to be eradicated or streamlined. All facets of the business enterprise ought to be reviewed. Digital processes that make silos of knowledge where by distinct men and women refer to “my knowledge” ought to be eradicated. Bodily procedures that are redundant should be eliminated. Production procedures have to be streamlined. Company processes have to be streamlined. Sensible manufacturing technology need to be created to assist the streamlined processes, not the legacy procedures.


You will find a ton of sensible production technological know-how out there, but wise producing is not about engineering. It is about sensible people utilizing good technological know-how to create new company strategies, to streamline and reduce organization and production processes, and to empower groups to travel the company forward. Good producing is reworking producing again into an financial powerhouse.

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