Improving agility in metal fabrication manufacturing

With the fabricated metal industry receiving government grants and incentives, it now ranks as one of the fastest-changing sectors in the manufacturing marketplace.

With the introduction of many of the ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies, manufacturers are building what we are calling ‘Manufacturing Agility’ into their organizations. The key areas of focus include;

  • Investing in new automated and connected manufacturing equipment.
  • Replacing aging ERP systems with connected and real-time enabled ERP solutions.
  • Introducing real-time systems to the manufacturing shop floor.

By developing ‘Manufacturing Agility’ organizations are able to;

  • Quickly respond to customer requirements.
  • Move to real-time manufacturing scheduling and shop-floor data collection, including machine integration.
  • Grow revenue by increasing production velocity, improving quality and reducing costs.

SYSPRO is focused on introducing the next generation of Connected ERP solutions that allow manufacturers to build agility into their organizations by allowing manufacturers to move to a real-time manufacturing model.

From inventory optimization to real-time scheduling to machine integration on the shop floor, manufacturers are seeing a measurable reduction in stock on hand, rework, and material waste. The overall impact is that in a competitive market, these organizations are growing by increasing their local and global competitiveness.

Industry challenges

For fabricated metal manufacturers, demand is rarely consistent. Organizations that are building agility into their manufacturing processes are reacting quicker to customer demands.

Track and measure everything – With the introduction of updated machinery, real-time Job scheduling, and shop floor data collection systems, automated real-time data collection from machines and operators is now a reality.

Manufacturers now have the ability to receive real-time OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) and OLEE (Overall Labor Efficiency) information directly from the shop floor, enabling them to make decisions to improve resource utilization, control costs, and identify and address manufacturing rework and waste.

Same day response – With competition increasing by the day, we are seeing manufacturers respond faster to customer quotes, with the “Same-Day” response benchmark moving from 30-45% to 60-75%. The introduction of “Metal Fabrication Specific” estimation tools that are integrated into ERP and Manufacturing Scheduling & Control systems is behind this growth.

Increased customer communication – with the growth of supply chain management solutions, the volume and frequency of communication to customers has seen manufacturers open their systems to allow the automated sharing of production scheduling and production progress/completion information. Organizations are achieving this and more with the introduction of  next generation ERP solutions that enable real-time scheduling and shop floor data collection including machine integration.

Integrated quality control – we are seeing a growth of connected and automated quality control systems. These are enabling manufacturers to identify and address quality issues quickly, ensuring growing quality and compliance levels are meet.

CAD Software – ERP solutions built for metal fabricators can provide the ability to quickly transfer data from a CAD system to production processes including Bill of Materials (BOM), material requirements and shop floor scheduling. ERP solutions that integrate with CAD software are allowing manufacturing Bill of Materials (BOM’s) to be automatically maintained, allowing new and updated items to be rapidly moved into production, ensuring the accurate costings of all resources.

Production scheduling – With the introduction of  next generation ERP solutions that offer integrated Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solutions, organizations now can schedule and manage real-time through the manufacturing cycle. Constraint-based planning solutions that manage material, equipment, tools and resources are becoming the norm. Having the ability to complete “What-If” and create a manufacturing “Digital Twin”, is allowing organizations the ability to model different manufacturing scenarios, before making changes to the shop floor.

Advanced Inventory Management – Having the “Right” inventory levels has always been a challenge. Organizations introducing “Manufacturing Agility” into their organizations are demanding real-time information from customers, suppliers and manufacturers. ERP Solutions that offer Integrated Advanced Inventory and Supply Chain Management and planning tools is the new norm. Interestingly along with Customer Credit Management, we are seeing many of these planning tools introduce AI (Artificial Intelligence). Early indications are that AI is gaining credibility.

IOT devices – Incorporating IOT devices to equipment is not new. Sensors are being used to monitor equipment, check quality and record time at every step on a production line. Incorporating and automating the accurate collection of manufacturing data, is allowing metal fabricators to better support methodologies including Six Sigma.

Material tracking – having the ability to track and trace all materials used throughout a manufacturing process is quickly becoming the new norm. Customers are demanding manufacturers have full visibility from the supplier of raw materials, through the manufacturing process and onto the final customer. As such, it is expected that ERP Solutions in metal fabrication will offer this capability.

Improving agility in metal fabrication

Technology is a powerful tool for the metal fabrication industry. By investing in automation and advanced and integrated technologies, companies can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and boost productivity. Supporting these initiatives with integrated Manufacturing ERP systems is enabling them to introduce and grow “Manufacturing Agility”. We believe that organizations that invest in integrated ERP Manufacturing solutions that support “Manufacturing Agility”, will allow organizations to quickly adapt, grow and thrive in the years to come.

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