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Don’t Let Digital Connectivity Be Your Nightclub Bouncer

Smart Manufacturing
July 19, 2022

Whether in person or on television, most of us have seen a glitzy nightclub with strict entry requirements. One with a large bouncer in a blazer and a velvet rope, where those wishing access must have a spot on “the list.” With it, you’re special and allowed to enter. Without it, you’re standing in a line to nowhere and it’ll be a long night.

Some manufacturing environments aren’t so different when it comes to their software. Digital connectivity between processes, functions, and departments can have prohibitive subscription requirements, meaning only a select few can afford to make “the list.” The rest are locked out and disconnected from others, using spreadsheets, whiteboards, and notepads to do their jobs.

But does digital connectivity need to have a bouncer? Why can’t those who have valuable information access the same club as the special folks? And shouldn’t the rise of smart manufacturing enable the democratization of data so anyone needing it can access or contribute to it?

Communication and Collaboration in Manufacturing

By erecting a barrier to digital connectivity, companies guarantee that the power of their manufacturing software will never be realized. The most immediate result is communication. Manufacturers have traditionally suffered from siloed data at the expense of communication that would enable process improvement and optimize production.

Suppose different departments can’t communicate effectively because of a lack of software licenses for all their staff. Walls are built between departments and functions such as quality, inventory control, finance, design, and more. As the digital access “bouncer” holds the line at the door, team members don’t have the tools and data insights to collaborate. This limitation reduces innovation and hinders process improvement.

Many manufacturers will have a few people from each department, or sometimes one person, with access. This bottleneck creates competition for the attention of that person and creates unnecessary inefficiency.

The Advantage of Visibility and Inclusion

The end-to-end visibility enabled by a true smart manufacturing platform makes communication easier. Since data silos are no longer in place, communication and collaboration are encouraged across the enterprise.

This process also requires the inclusion of all people because actionable insights are the product of powerful analytics. The more people who use the system, the more significant the impact on optimizing processes and improving the quality of data that drives production.

Traditional software models with restrictive digital access miss this value. And it results in a handful of executives, managers, planners, and technical staff having gateway access to the club. A smart manufacturing platform includes everyone in the operation because it relies on connected factory assets and everyone’s input.
Operators, mechanics, managers, administrative staff, and others respond via tablet, PC, or HMI to act on alerts and insights and add context to what’s happening on the shop floor. A smart manufacturing platform not only empowers the inclusion of everyone but also counts on that inclusion to work its best magic.

Getting Past the Bouncer

The Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform empowers your staff to knock down the velvet rope and enter a world where everyone is dancing to the same tune. The platform throws open the door with an unlimited user license model to ensure there are no barriers to anyone in your organization - because that’s where the most value of a manufacturing software solution lives.

To find out more about how Plex can get you past the ropes and better connect your organization with smart manufacturing, contact us today.

About the Author

Plex Team

Plex Systems, Inc., a Rockwell Automation company, is the leader in cloud-delivered smart manufacturing solutions, empowering the world’s manufacturers to make awesome products. Our platform gives manufacturers the ability to connect, automate, track and analyze every aspect of their business to drive transformation. The Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform includes solutions for manufacturing execution (MES), ERP, quality, supply chain planning and management, Industrial IoT and analytics to connect people, systems, machines, and supply chains, enabling them to lead with precision, efficiency and agility.