Smart manufacturing is the implementation of digitization to streamline processes, create efficiencies, and work smarter, not harder. Similar to Lean Manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing is taking efficiency to the next level to help organizations achieve success.

This is the third in a three-part series on Smart Manufacturing. In Part 1, we described the role smart manufacturing plays in delivering new services. In Part 2, we reviewed how smart manufacturing is optimizing digital operations. Today, we’ll discuss how smart manufacturing is transforming the workforce!

First, let’s consider what your customers want from your company – and by extension from your supply chain:

1. Accurate and timely information about supply.  Affirmative responses in terms of when product will be available to ship is critical to winning that business. Anything less may cause your Customer to reconsider their buying decision and look to other sources of supply. These inquiries come in the form of:

  • Do you have it in stock?
  • If not in stock, when will it be available?
  • When can this ship, and when will I receive?
  • When can this ship, and when will I receive?

Second, how is your company providing these answers – the access to information – and where is that information generated:

2. Your manufacturing and inventory resources need to provide this response to Customer Service Representatives, and by extension to Customers, in a real-time manner. Asking a CSR to drill into your ERP system to ‘divine’ these answers is fraught with peril. This requires a combination of the following:

  • Simple and easy-to-use depictions of availability and future supply is critical. 
  • Real-time updates to status changes in supply orders.
  • Enabling technology to capture and communicate these updates (If it’s not easy to capture an update, your company will struggle to get everyone in the supply chain to perform those updates in a timely manner).
  • Real-time insight; connect sales and purchasing with logistics, production, and warehouse management for a 360-degree view of your supply chain.

Finally, how does a company Transform their Workforce to simplify and enable the provision and communication of this kind of information – throughout your company and customer-facing systems and personnel:

3. Mobility is key. Manufacturing and supply chain employees can experience an always-connected view through mobile apps and seamless integration with the back office.

4. Connections everywhere. Connect people with products and processes. Boost manufacturing and supply chain productivity by integrating people with intelligent mixed-reality devices, IoT-enabled machines, and AI-enhanced applications.

5. Integrated self-service portals for everyone from distributors to your employees to provide the same insight.

When technology makes it easier for your workforce to accomplish their job, the results are transformative. Not only are they happier workers, productivity reaches new heights and your customers see the value of working with you.

Read about more transformative changes for the manufacturing industry in our latest white paper: Transformative Changes Taking Discrete Manufacturing Into the Next Decade.

For discrete manufacturers who struggle to meet growing production demands and innovate with advanced technologies, we provide digital transformation that brings together people, data, processes, and things. PowerObjects is a leader in delivering Microsoft Business Applications solutions and Dynamics 365 workloads through unparalleled offerings of service, support, education, and add-ons. We help manufacturers leverage Microsoft technology to meet fast production demands, connect legacy systems, automate paper-based processes, and empower the people they work with.

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Joe D365

Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.