Machine and Process Management

Smart Operational Solutions for Agile Industries

Smart Operations

With the rise of IoT technologies a wealth of information is now available for industrial companies to use to improve their operational efficiency and profitability. Smart Operations harness this information to drive smart, flexible assets, and plants with real-time secure linkage to value chains so their operations can be agile enough to respond in real-time to today’s market and customer demands.

  • Agile Production: digitally connected, flexible assets which can respond to supply chain and market demands.
  • Optimized scheduling: a scheduling system that can react to changing demands in real time, whether those changes are driven by the supply chain, customers, or even maintenance needs.
  • Digital supply chain: digitally and securely linking a plant’s scheduling and operation to the separate entities of the supply chain so its production can respond and adapt in real-time.

Today there’s a growing need for customizable products, driven by rapidly changing consumer and market demands. It’s about ordering a product ‘made just for me’ and the need to adapt products to meet prevalent regulations or the needs of the market they’re destined for. Financial pressures mean companies must address these trends without major investment in process modifications.

Agile Production is about using current resources intelligently. Assets can be reconfigured automatically to meet evolving customer or market needs.  

A good example is in the automotive industry. Here, for example vehicle manufacturers face demands for different vehicle features as well as the growing need to build engines which run on different types of fuel. In response production asset designs have changed to make them more flexible. Part variances can be accomplished by selecting different part programs rather than investing capital to make process changes. By Using Schneider Electric’s Flexible Dashboard solution, machines can reconfigure at the speed of production and be all set to go if there are variances with a batch of parts.

In the Consumer-Packaged Goods industry segment, batches of different products often share common assets (e.g. an oven with slightly different recipes, or a bottling line) and some batches use different assets. Recipe & Batch Management for CPG is the perfect solution from Schneider Electric for this scenario. Making sure production rates are maintained and all assets optimally used is essential to both financial performance and customer satisfaction.

For example if the operation makes foods both with and without allergens, has to deal with seasonal changes to orders, as well as fulfill large, customized orders for ongoing contracts with big box stores, batch management and scheduling in this chaotic environment can be a challenge!

Today’s production lines must be able to adapt ‘on the fly’ to these changing demands, without the need to change or add capital assets. 

As we emerge into the new normal, supply chain disruptions are presenting major challenges for industrial companies (including us). We hear about the topic regularly in news reports. Supply chain problems even come up in conversation at many of the world’s dinner tables. Think about that for a moment. Supply chain issues are enough of a problem that they’ve entered public consciousness.

Some industries have been relying on Just-In-Time supply techniques to minimize inventories and work in progress for a while now. For these companies ‘Just-In-Time’ inventory could show up ‘Just-Too-Late’ impacting productivity and end customer satisfaction. In the post pandemic world supply chains are a production constraint for everyone, whether it was planned that way in the first place or not!

Digital Supply Chain recognizes the critical role an enterprise’s supply chains play in their success and includes them, in real time, in their production planning, scheduling, and traceability strategies. All supplier’s locations are securely linked digitally to the production facility, so needs can be communicated, and issues recognized and mitigated before they impact production.

Industrial digitization, when deployed properly can help industry be ready for the ever-increasing speed and variability of today’s world. In the face of unprecedented levels of uncertainty, it allows operations to become agile enough to survive for the long haul profitably and sustainably by being, well, ‘Smart.’

Do you need IIoT solutions to help you become a Smart Operation?

Schneider Electric has over 20 Smart Operation IIoT solutions to suit across industry segments such as, Water & Wastewater, Consumer-Packaged Goods, Mining, Minerals & Metal, Discrete Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Automotive and Transportation. Go on a virtual tour of a Smart Factory today to find out more.

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