The technology landscape for North American manufacturers is much more complex than it was only years ago. Automation technologies are being extended, and new ones introduced, at a rapid pace. which leaves plant owners and managers considering which technologies are right for their operations.

But when deciding which technologies to implement, it’s not enough to expect a simple implementation with “plug and play” benefits. It’s critical to understand how existing direct and indirect processes will be affected by the new technology, and how these operational changes will impact efficiency and profitability.

Fully Understanding the Potential Impact of a New Manufacturing Technology

Any new automation technology should:

  1. Integrate data sources, control systems, and enterprise management systems
  2. Be “open” to integration with any platform, application, and systems architecture – including cloud-based services – into new or existing automated manufacturing environments
  3. Be capable of feeding data upwards to manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Proper implementation also requires in-depth knowledge of machine tooling and material removal, as well as production processes, automated manufacturing, computer technologies, and much, much more. Add to that business fundamentals, like each manufacturer’s goals and how they translate into a manufacturing strategy that pinpoints the tools to reach those goals.

With so many considerations involved in a successful automation implementation, it’s no wonder manufacturing companies are looking for help beyond vendors who supply standalone solutions that deliver localized factory floor benefits.

Companies are now looking for vendors who have the products and the expertise to offer, not only the technology, but also systems integration and management consulting expertise related to both localized automation and enterprise-wise solutions.

The change to the technology landscape for North American manufacturing is happening now and will accelerate in 2017. And as manufacturers work to keep up with demand and ensure their success, they’ll increasingly call on the broad systems knowledge that their expert partners can provide.

What do you think the new year will bring regarding the North American manufacturing landscape? Let us know by adding your thoughts on our Facebook page.