While outsiders looking in at the manufacturing industry may be forgiven for thinking that its massive productivity gains in recent years are the result of robots and automation, industry insiders know that there’s a far more subtle force in play: Information.
Of course, the tools on the assembly line are important. But the modern manufacturing revolution is being driven far more by advances in information gathering, analysis and communication. These are the core of just-in-time, lean, quick-response manufacturing and other advances powering manufacturing productivity – and profitability – today.
As data becomes more critical to manufacturing success, and manufacturers have access to more data from both internal sources as well as external partners, integrating that data becomes a matter of critical strategic importance. Third-party ERP, CRM and SCM systems, while powerful, are limited by the data to which they have access. How a manufacturer integrates the data from all of its various sources defines what that access looks like and what it allows those systems to accomplish.
Manufacturers today have a wealth of available data from a wide range of sources, but they may not be using it to its full potential.
- Customers, suppliers, shippers and marketplaces generate business-critical data.
- The shop floor and inventory cribs are home to more data than ever before.
- Quality inspections and warranty returns have a lot to tell you.
- Sales teams need – and generate – data that defines future production.
- Finance, HR and other back-office functions are integrated into the entire organization.
For manufacturers looking to continue their productivity and efficiency growth while protecting and improving their bottom lines, the question becomes how many of these and other sources for and destinations of data are truly integrated into the organization, and how many exist in a full or partial silo because of ineffective data integration.
At its best, effective data integration in manufacturing means that all data flows are connected, integrated, controlled and available in as close to real time as possible, wherever they are needed to maximize productivity and efficiency. This level of integration enables key manufacturing productivity improvements such as elimination of redundant (and error-prone) manual data entry, reduction in production interruption, improvement in sales efficiency, reduction in rush production/shipping expenditures and more.
Interested in learning how you can maximize your ROI with a low/no code approach to integration? Calculate your ROI here.