Bringing It All Together: On Digital Transformation and Integration

Bringing It All Together: On Digital Transformation and Integration

Bringing_It_All_Together_On_Digital_Transformation_and_Integration.pngIn a previous blog entry, we discussed flexis job shop scheduling and management software and the value this solution provides OEMs in optimizing their planning and production programs from the earliest stages of order planning through execution on the production floor. While job shop scheduling software is certainly a value proposition in and of itself, it’s actually part of a larger trend throughout the automotive industry toward the integration of planning and data management systems to create the digital transformation of the manufacturing process.

In today’s global supply stream, companies are under increased pressure to speed up, scale, and distribute integration capabilities to streamline existing processes and leverage more efficient planning and production strategies. The end result of this push for integration is the aforementioned digital transformation, which has the potential to create more responsive, agile, and personalized relationships with customers, suppliers, and partners. This is crucial in today’s complex supply network as companies strive for enhanced visibility and transparency in a variant-rich industry that demands the ability to respond to a variety of unknown variables such as inventory concerns, modifications to orders, and availability of resources.

Through this integration and digital transformation, companies can experience lower production and operational costs, accelerated lead times, and enhanced reporting and data analysis capabilities which can fuel better planning and production programs. To achieve these goals, companies must leverage a pervasive integration strategy that eliminates multi-suite applications and incorporates planning and reporting solutions into a single module that’s accessible and shareable across a company’s value chain.

But how? How can OEMs effectively foster this pervasive integration and utilize it to enhance productivity and growth? Here are a few things companies should consider when creating their own integration strategy in an attempt to reach a complete digital transformation of the planning and production cycles.

Creating a basic strategy group for a holistic integration. Because the nuances of today’s automotive supply chain are vast and varied, companies often have a number of different planning, production, and reporting/data management solutions deployed simultaneously. Creating an integration strategy requires a top-to-bottom, soup-to-nuts approach that brings each application under the same umbrella. Successful creation and implementation of such a strategy will help eliminate functional silos and increase communication and collaboration surrounding planning and production benchmarks and goals. What’s important here is the word holistic in that companies must view planning, production, and data management solutions as part of the same overall endgame rather than as disparate functions.

Encouraging collaboration of systems. In previous entries, we’ve discussed the shift from traditional ERP systems to more post modern ERP solutions - a break from the monolith systems of the past to more dynamic, hybrid-based systems that provide greater real-time responsiveness and overall clarity into current production and supply situations. This shift is analogous to the collaboration required in forging a digital transformation - in other words, if we think of these separate applications as active players, a collaboration between these players and combining their greatest attributes in achieving business goals is vital in driving a successful integration. A convergence of these applications via collaboration will result in optimized data sets that will facilitate more accurate planning, modeling, and analysis.

Effectively managing data. When OEMs consider digital transformation, many think about the digitalization of planning and production - optimization and incorporating planning and production into one action to help drive greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, effectively managing data - both in flight and at-rest - is a key driver in a successful integration strategy. Because today’s planners and managers are bombarded with data and reporting - in part due to advancements in BOM management, Plan for Every Part, and Every Part Every Interval strategies - efficient organizing and processing of this reporting is essential in creating an architecture or structure most conducive to a company’s integration goals. Effective data management will also allow for increased visibility into a company’s production and supply capacity based on more detailed modeling, forecasting, and ‘what-if’ capabilities.  

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