Towards the turn of the 21st century, enterprises witnessed a massive business transformation in the way factory office and corporate functions managed the operations and interacted with each other. The functions encompassing Financial Management, Sales & Operations and Supply Chain planning – Order to Cash, Plan to Produce and Procure to Pay, were at the heart of software-based workflow automation and data integration. These systems helped organizations break the siloes between their Planning, Sales Orders, Procurement, Production, Warehouse & Spare Parts and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) functions.
It was around this time Y2K transition was taking place, businesses were seeing an increasing adoption of ERP systems and client-server architectures were starting to gain mainstream traction, disrupting the traditional business models.
The result of these massive integration efforts was soon realized in the form of improved customer service levels, order fulfillment, enhanced visibility into inventory levels and truly enabling Shop floor concepts like “Just In Time”. In turn, the achievement of these key metrics helped the overall objectives of achieving greater Operational Efficiencies, especially for Industrial Plants with geographically spread sites.
Around this time, RCM and PdM were buzzwords without the same level of software technology support. While the corporate IT and enterprise software were gaining traction, Operations, Shop Floor automation and Reliability & Maintenance practices were working independent of the “Business Transformation”. It won’t be a far-fetched thought to say, both worlds grew independently of each other and at their own pace.
In the race to ship out more orders and increase the Top Line as being the primary mantra of the businesses, the cost of Operating & Maintaining the Production Facilities, was still managed in the traditional, offline connected ways.
The advances in manufacturing and software innovations enabled the introduction of a new set of industrial software applications, focusing on the heart of the process manufacturing industries – the critical assets & equipment. These applications helped enterprises fulfil the phenomenal demands of globalization led B2B and B2C business growth in the last two decades.
The advanced automation sensors and monitors mounted on the critical assets, provided the ability to communicate with the Enterprise business systems. This is akin to our smartwatches capturing time series health parameters from our wrists and communicating with smart devices through internet.
This development led the industrial world to the next Frontier of the ever-evolving landscape of Enterprise-wide Digital Transformation and is enabling the Factories of the Future.
One of the prime examples of this Industrial Transformation is software-based Predictive Maintenance that helps to predict machine failures before they happen. With limited time and budget constraints at all facilities, it is imperative that critical equipment perform in the most optimum and efficient way.
In the illustration above, the asset health parameters across the plant can now be collected, stored, and fed real time into software algorithms. The software then processes and analyzes the data, turns it into actionable insights accessed by maintenance engineers. Depending on the criticality can be passed on for further processing and approvals, through desktops and mobile devices.
The abnormal conditions are analysed to determine what is the mechanical problem, what has caused the problem, how do we fix the problem and within what time frame do we fix the problem.
All of this is now possible through the click of a few applications and with no dependency on physical location of the assets and personnel.
The Predictive Maintenance Software platforms like Plantweb Optics Analytics help accelerate these Industrial digital transformation mandates, lead the path to establish new business models and serve our customers much more efficiently and faster.
I encourage you to register for the Emerson Exchange Asia Pacific, coming up October 26 to 28, where we have a dedicated track on our software solutions on Day 3.