No matter what industry you’re in, every moving part within your factory relies on every other moving part. Your machines rely on operators. Operators rely on scheduling. Scheduling relies on maintenance. Maintenance relies on the parts department. Parts relies on inventory suppliers. Suppliers rely on shipping. And all of them rely on data. However, for that data to be of any value, it not only needs to be accurate but it must be effortlessly shared back and forth across the entire supply chain.

It used to be that information moving through factories was created by individual reports, meaning that people in different departments had to measure and monitor activity and record their findings. They would then have to report their findings accurately to someone else who could then merge all of the disparate information together. From there, decisions would be made to initiate the desired change throughout the entire operation. But having too many hand-offs can create coordination challenges and interject additional inefficiency that could slow down productivity and lower the company’s bottom line.

Today, nothing has changed, yet everything has changed.

Accurate information still needs to be put into action. The only difference now, though, is that data is collected electronically and it arrives in real time or near real time. Not to mention, there’s a whole lot more of it and in a variety of structured and unstructured formats. So, while it’s great to have access to more data than ever before, one problem remains: the data is coming from different places. It is neither orchestrated nor aggregated. Also, it arrives at different times, and therefore, is not synchronized enough to offer context to the other incoming information. This is the definition of an unconnected factory. And thus, what was a question of where and how to get data has become an issue of how to organize it, analyze it and leverage it to give you a competitive advantage.

Smart factories start with smart solutions.

Better workflow, real-time alerts and rapid reactions to market conditions are all based on data. But the ability to constantly adapt your operations requires tools that adjust when your business needs to. The days of waiting weeks or months to extract the meaning hidden in your operational data are over. Today, you can be free from hard-coded applications that utilize lengthy and costly development cycles and instead offer your non-technical employees the ability to use pre-built, off-the-shelf solutions to anticipate change in real time and better predict how your business will evolve.

One successful example of this can be seen with global CPG enterprises, that need to communicate and share data across multiple manufacturing locations. In an effort to optimize the production of consumer products, Decisyon worked with one CPG company to implement an adaptable platform to standardize their data coming from across their factories around the world. By having everything they need for the entire IoT journey – from aggregation to action – the company is able to aggregate and visualize data from different sources every second of every day. This allows them to analyze every part of their supply chain and leverage a holistic view of their production lines. They are able to make decisions faster and be more proactive to market conditions – making their operations more productive and more cost efficient. The estimated ROI was around 35% at just one factory.

To stay competitive, factories must commit to creating the digital twin of their physical devices and harness the power of Industrial Internet of Things. There is real value in connecting all of your heterogeneous systems to share data via the Internet. Being able to constantly stream information and leverage scalable, modular solutions that help you standardize your data can lead to machine learning that produces AI-managed scheduling and the subsequent automated actions necessary to create speed to market.

The smart factory of tomorrow is one that connects its four walls and takes every advantage to integrate everything across its supply chain. With the ability to use better asset tracking and inventory management outside of the factory, manufacturers are beginning to optimize costs by reducing asset loss and avoid “empty shelf” incidences. If connecting all of your business systems and feeding information from other systems and devices directly back into your production line sounds like what you need, we can help. We couple our subject matter expertise in manufacturing with a series of pre-built, off-the-shelf solutions to aggregate, visualize and analyze data and put it into action – leading to more productivity and less supply chain disruption. We’re helping companies make smarter decisions faster and empowering them to revolutionize their factory and to set the bar for their industry.