How can a manufacturer take advantage of new technology to solve the old challenges in operations?
Manufacturers are always looking to squeeze efficiency out of their operations. There’s a constant battle to minimize work stoppages, wasteful production techniques, and other profit drains. Too often that has taken the form of patchwork or piecemeal improvement, due not only to differences in maturity across operational technology but also potentially high costs. Now, the economics are right for smart manufacturers to make investments in low-cost IoT sensors and cloud-based predictive analytics to retrofit old facilities and enhance operations end-to-end.
The key to successfully transforming production management is a consistent approach that leverages technology to connect factories while providing predictive analytics and logistics capabilities across the supply chain and customer engagement. Rather than be hamstrung by a patchwork of different systems, manufacturers who choose a consolidated platform can dynamically evolve production in response to conditions on the ground, systematize and coordinate maintenance to expand service business, and deepen customer relationships.
Find a solution that attacks inefficiency by managing and integrating the right technology
Manufacturers have a basic need for timely and predictable production, but often underestimate the efficiency that could be gained through a better management platform. It starts with managing and visualizing real-time asset performance data, correlated with data from sales and across the supply chain. This data often reveals more efficient sourcing for parts or uncovers a costly, redundant step. Additional data sources and deeper analysis might uncover the possibility for a value-added service offering around a product to pass that visibility on to customers. The same data-driven approach helps manufacturers to understand how an underperforming or overperforming asset could affect cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
Supporting expansion of service offerings isn’t just about supplementing products, but also expanding access to products or capabilities through the “as a service” model—also known as servitization. Capitalizing on this idea of servitization requires an approach that can systematize and coordinate service delivery, turning maintenance into a manageable and cost-effective process rather than an emergency. IoT-enabled devices can produce tremendous amounts of new data, but collecting data doesn’t immediately translate into insight. By integrating IoT with predictive analytics to sort through and identify patterns, a company can detect, troubleshoot, and resolve asset issues remotely, as well as gain a more granular understanding of performance. That shifts operations from a reactive to a proactive posture and helps to increase margins at scale.
Ultimately though, the greatest source of profit comes from deepening the relationship between customers and manufacturers and building trust through visibility and proactive engagement. That can mean alerting a customer to a delay, identifying a new lead based on a service visit, or recommending a new product to a returning customer. The infrastructure that supports better customer engagement also helps build a 360-degree view of customers, including their product performance, engagement history, and service records. With better visibility and internal collaboration, decision makers and service reps alike gain the ability to understand what is happening, why, and how to address it as a team.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365, a single platform connects each part of your business
Siloed project and process management adds conceptual overhead and prevents your business from being agile. Fast, cloud-delivered, and analytics-supported project and process management is necessary to position manufacturers for success. Microsoft Dynamics 365 ends the artificial separation of front and back office, providing a single unified service delivery, sales, and production management platform.
Backed by the most flexible and largest enterprise cloud, manufacturers have the capability to seamlessly scale and manage even the most complex workflows or projects. Extending the investment is easy with a common data service to assist integration, and additional capabilities or business applications can be optimized or deployed, using PowerApps from within Dynamics 365, to digitally improve manual or paper processes. No other company provides you with powerful capabilities and an interconnected set of technology like Microsoft, natively integrating your productivity and office tools into your combined CRM and ERP systems.