Which Technologies Should Come First, Second, Third?


Written by Ken Koenemann, VP of Supply Chain and Technologies, TBM Consulting Group

technology solutionsAnalytics solutions. The industrial Internet of Things. Robotics. Automation. Manufacturers looking for tech solutions that will help them control costs and gain a competitive edge have many great options. In fact, deciding what type of technology to invest in and why can seem overwhelming. Could you get a better ROI through automation and improved productivity, or through using analytics to identify inefficiencies and streamline processes?

To glean the most from almost any new technology, make sure you have:

  • A clear understanding of what’s happening in your business
  • A vision for what you want the technology to do and why
  • The right process structure and skill sets along with team alignment.

Before investing in any new technology, ask these questions:

  • What are the key drivers of operational and financial performance for your business?
  • Do you clearly understand performance levels, reasons for misses and have processes for correcting them?

Many manufacturers regularly fall short of their strategic goals, and it’s a good bet most of them also struggle with these questions. A lack of data usually isn’t the issue. Most manufacturing environments usually include some combination of ERP, CRM, CMMS, EMS and financial reporting systems and spreadsheets.

The problem is the long time it takes to gather and analyze key performance indicators from the various sources. When that’s the case, predictive technology, for example, is invaluable and probably your best next investment: It will help you better understand what’s happening in your business and why to keep strategic goals on track, and it will position you to apply new technologies more effectively moving forward.

Many cloud-based solutions are also more versatile and relatively inexpensive and easy to implement compared with, say, a behind-the-firewall solution. Moreover, a well-executed solution can delivery similar types of insights quicker due to a shorter implementation timeline.

Read this Advanced Manufacturing article by Ken Koenemann will provide real client examples of why you need to evaluate manufacturing technology options now versus in the future in order to stay competitive in this age of IIOT.

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