IoT Technologies Transforming Fabricated Metal


Although metal shops have actively engaged in automation over the last decade, incorporating robots for precision-driven or dangerous functions, such as welding and material handling, it is only fairly recently that what once seemed like a science-fiction writer’s daydream is becoming a part of everyday fabricated metal processes.

The advance of Industry 4.0 technologies, especially with regard to the Internet of Things (IoT), is ringing change to manufacturing processes across almost every industry.

Industry 4.0 is predicated on digital information, and the advantages of the IoT are derived from millions of embedded sensors. As sensors become increasingly affordable, their deployment into every aspect of production and supply chain becomes increasingly attractive. Soon, metal fabricators, no matter what the manufacturing environment (make-to-order, make-to-stock, etc.) will be monitoring every aspect of production, gathering detailed information from suppliers and customers, and using sophisticated analytic programs to optimize production and workflow.

Profound change, whether in technology, markets or customer demand, requires ingrained flexibility, and SYSPRO has flexibility coded right into its DNA. Our modular architecture lets companies license exactly what they need to grow their businesses, adding new modules as profits grow and needs arise. (The ultimate goal is to integrate SYSPRO across the entire enterprise – including downstream suppliers, back-office, sales, shop floor and distribution.)

Many metal fabricators are attracted to SYSPRO’s modular offerings on the Cloud. The Cloud allows companies to avoid large capital expenditures, such as servers, server rooms and IT personnel, while at the same time giving them access to Industry 4.0 technologies, such as the IoT, Big Data, analytics, automation, robotics and predictive maintenance. These technologies could well be the competitive edge that propel fabricated metal companies to capture market share in the future.

Fabricated metal shops, as with most industries, rely on a high level of customer service to ensure repeat business. If they cannot streamline the order-entry process, maintain strict ISO standards, and deliver products on or before the promised date, their customers will find someone who can. SYSPRO fulfils all those requirements, by offering an end-to-end manufacturing solution that streamlines order-to-invoice processes, reduces inventory and lead times, improves capacity management, and enhances overall operational planning and financial management. For example, SYSPROs Order-Entry and Product Configurator modules promise a fast, comprehensive and rules-based way to streamline the customer experience and optimize order fulfilment.

SYSPRO provides the flexibility needed to make “Just-in-Time” inventory deals with suppliers. On the customer side of the equation, SYSPRO’s sales projections and inventory control help companies achieve superior fill rates. SYSPRO customers typically experience a significant reduction in inventory and inventory carrying costs, a reduction in product lead times, and a pronounced improvement in promise-to-delivery rates. That all adds up to increased profits and happier customers.

Adapting to change can also mean dealing with problems. For an ISO manufacturer (or any manufacturer concerned with quality), Lot Traceability is a distinct blessing. If an order of steel does not conform to specifications, SYSPRO will quickly identify the relevant production run, and the rest of that steel can be taken out of stock. Lot traceability also allows companies to drill down to the source components of any production run.

To remain competitive in a dynamic marketplace, fabricated metal companies need an ERP that delivers an end-to-end, accounting-based manufacturing system. They also need to incorporate – or be ready to incorporate – Industry 4.0 technologies. SYSPRO is the answer to all of these demands. Whether in-house or on the Cloud, SYSPRO is built to help companies profit in a constantly changing world.

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