Illumiti Innovation Blog

Putting innovation to work in manufacturing: Benefits of a Cloud MES system like SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud

Date: October 21, 2022
By: Roman Freidel

We’re in a different world. Inflation is high, which is sending manufacturing costs soaring, both for energy and for materials. Governments that have started to prioritize carbon reductions are pointing fingers at high emissions manufacturers. And customers are more demanding than ever—wanting more choice, more customization, and more rapid delivery.

Under pressure from all sides, many manufacturers are embracing innovation. They’re investing in technologies like IoT enabled sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and smart data analytics so they can improve their end-to-end value chain, reduce inefficiencies in their manufacturing processes, and focus their employees on tasks that create more value rather than on repetitive and tedious manual tasks.

To reduce risks and enable the speed and efficiencies they desire, manufacturers need a manufacturing execution system (MES) able to leverage innovative technologies and analyze relevant data quickly to provide actionable insights—whether the user is on the plant floor or the top floor, at home or halfway across the world.

Understanding the value of a Cloud MES

Cloud MES solutions can help manufacturing companies put innovation to work on a holistic level by acting as the glue binding together the different machines and processes occurring within a manufacturing facility.

Like a traditional MES, a Cloud MES acts as a mechanism for manufacturers to control and monitor key manufacturing activities. What’s unique about a Cloud MES, however, is its ability to give manufacturers a level of flexibility and agility that on-premise systems simply can’t emulate, while at the same time reducing the time needed to begin achieving real results. This is because a Cloud MES solution doesn’t require any new IT infrastructure to be developed.

Most Cloud solutions are designed to provide out-of-the-box integration for both discrete and process manufacturing companies. This makes it easy for manufacturers to start seeing value very quickly—oftentimes within a few months, rather than the year or more it might take with an on-premise or hybrid system.

Connecting the dots from anywhere at anytime: Benefits of SAP DMC

SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud (DMC) is a prime example of a Cloud MES. It gives manufacturers both agility and peace-of-mind, helping them embrace new opportunities and manage risks related to their manufacturing processes from anywhere in the world. Key benefits from SAP DMC include:

  • Enhances visibility: Provides companies with data and insights they need to make better strategic, tactical, and operational decisions.
  • Enables real-time data and analytics: Collects plant floor data in real-time or near real time, allowing for rapid discovery of issues and prediction of process or machine failures.
  • Provides access from anywhere: Gives users access to relevant plant data, process information, and dashboards via Cloud-based tools and applications so that they can make informed decisions from anywhere at anytime.
  • Improves business continuity: Secures access to mission-critical data in the Cloud, which can enhance business continuity in the event of an unexpected incident or event.
  • Supports end-to-end traceability: Integrates with other operational and supply chain systems to support end-to-end traceability of products at a Lot Size of 1.

SAP DMC can also be readily connected with broader ERP systems to allow companies to analyze data across corporate activities (e.g., sales, ordering, manufacturing, logistics and delivery, customer experience) to identify disconnects across the value chain, drive performance enhancements, and even provide insights to assist with ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) initiatives and reporting.

Enabling quantifiable results

Cloud MES solutions can help manufacturing companies quickly identify inefficiencies in their manufacturing processes and optimize critical plant activities, including resource scheduling and machine maintenance.

For example, empowered by automated and real-time data analytics, SAP DMC provides plant managers and executives with quantifiable metrics that can be used to support rapid decision-making. When used effectively and integrated with other operational systems, SAP DMC can lead to a number of quantifiable manufacturing process improvements, such as lower product lifecycle management costs, shorter manufacturing cycle times, lower inventory carrying costs, higher on-time delivery rates, and a faster time to market.

Implementing a Cloud MES

If manufacturers want to get the most out of a Cloud MES and take full advantage of any innovative technologies they already have in place, or might consider in the future, they need to work with a knowledgeable and experienced SaaS provider who can help scale the solution to their needs both today and in the years ahead.

To get the most benefit from a SaaS partner, manufacturers should look for providers that have:

  • Proven experience working with companies their industry (e.g., automotive, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage).
  • Knowledge of key industry and technology trends.
  • A passion for innovation that drives them to push the boundaries of Cloud MES systems.
  • Commitment to data privacy, security, and compliance—and the resources to keep on top of current and future risks.
  • An iterative approach focused on improving Cloud MES capabilities in order to drive new value.

Starting off on the right foot

Manufacturers may be operating in a new world, but it’s one that presents just as many opportunities as it does challenges. By embracing Cloud MES, companies can improve the effectiveness of their manufacturing plants, while opening the door to more connected data that can help them become more flexible, agile, and responsive.

About the Author

Roman Freidel

Roman is a talented, ambitious and hardworking individual, with broad skills and experience in digitalization, presales and leading projects. Furthermore, he is adept at handling multiple tasks on a daily basis competently and at working well under pressure. With a passion for driving innovation, digital transformation and a cloud enthusiast for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP DMC, SAP SAC.

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