Just what is information-driven manufacturing?

Just what is information-driven manufacturing?

What is information-driven manufacturing it? Who’s it for? How can you start? This quick Q&A gets down to basics.

Q. What is iDM?

A. Information-driven manufacturing (iDM) is about having a fully connected production line.

Q. Why?

A. Every machine and system in your production line generates and holds a wealth of data, iDM is about connecting with your machines to get to that information and then using it to unleash more productivity and efficiency across your business.

Q. What’s the ultimate goal?

A. To create a closed-loop network where the production line is connected to the business systems, making manufacturers better informed and more agile in decision-making, especially re cap-ex, QC, and managing suppliers and raw materials.

Q. And so the name….

A. ….is because the information drives the manufacturing.

Q. Don’t you need to be big to use iDM?

A. Definitely not. Large, medium or small, iDM is for any manufacturer wanting to become more competitive and agile. Regardless of size, many businesses are finding iDM is a competitive advantage necessary to stay ahead and thrive in our technology-driven world.

Q. Is there a link with Industry 4.0?

A. The best way to think about iDM is as ‘Industry 3.5’, because it’s the stepping-stone to realising the gaps while working towards Industry 4.0. And it’s by taking steps towards iDM that manufacturers can identify where opportunity to optimise, change and improve truly lies.

Q. But nothing’s wrong with our current systems…

A. One of the biggest challenges to iDM is the mindset of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But the fact is disruptive technologies are changing business models, creating new opportunities and creating new competitors at a pace faster than ever before. Sitting still means getting left behind.

Q. How should I begin?

A. While you need to think about disruptive technologies and future innovation, look at improving what you are doing right now. Think about: how you can improve efficiency and productivity, what information you need in real time to take better decisions, how you can automatically capture this information, can you automate any manual processes and which automated processes can you network for real-time visibility and control?

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/josemoraes

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