In the early 1990’s when I started my career in automation, one of our industry’s Bid Ideas was eliminating Islands of Automation. Plant control efforts up to that point had successfully automated indivudual machines, and operations personnel were beginning to imagine the possibilities of centralized monitoring and coordination. SCADA and Historians were the solution, and they largely delivered the imagined productivity gains. Today the manufacturing sector is on the doorstep of an even bigger opportunity as we begin to eliminate Islands of Information.
Islands of Information are everywhere in modern organizations. Departmental level software solutions for HR, inventory, maintenance, production, process data, and many others are all localized containers for valuable enterprise information. Each one of these data islands benefits its department, but for key decision makers the big picture remains hidden, overly simplified, or significantly time-lagged. Manufacturing Intelligence initiatives connect enterprise information sources to open up new perspectives and increases the agility of the organization.
Imagine being able to monitor and potentially control everything about your business in real time. Imagine knowing how your business is running right now. How would your business benefit if you could make decisions and affect change before you would have even received reports in the past? Imagine the benefits of analytics software keeping a watchful eye 24/7 looking for patterns too complex for the human mind to observe. Did that HR Policy change have an adverse effect on product quality? Does the weather impact productivity? More importantly, what can be done about it?
This is not fantasy land, and the cost for these types of systems is rapidly falling into the reach of mid-level enterprises. Information Pangaea is beginning to form, and manufacturing organizations are realizing tangible gains in efficiency, quality, and productivity. It is critically important for any organization serious about surviving the next 20 years to invest in the infrastructure required to centralize, analyze, and distribute actionable information at all levels of the enterprise.
Read more about how you can begin connecting your islands of information.