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December 5, 2023

Inflation - it’s the dreaded “I” word. After decades of historically low rates, it came back with a vengeance and continues to disrupt operations everywhere.

There are virtually no sectors of the economy nor any industry untouched as prices have risen across every category. Most of these categories, like energy, transportation, raw materials, labor, and others, impact manufacturing directly, placing pressure on profit margins and spurring many producers to make hard choices about raising prices for their goods or discontinuing popular but lower-margin products.

Navigating this new reality is challenging for decision-makers regardless of the systems they use to manage their production. But for those with legacy systems, disparate and inadequate software, or fully manual processes, lack of real-time data and analysis means working with significantly less information than their peers and putting them at a disadvantage.

How Smart Manufacturing Helps Manage Inflation

Companies who have begun their digital journey to implement smart manufacturing technology and software solutions stand a better chance at mitigating the impact of inflation. For these companies, the power of real-time data and analytics cannot be overstated. Here are some ways smart manufacturing technology and solutions offer benefits that help manage high inflation.

  1. Efficiency – Smart manufacturing solutions allow you to automate production processes. By removing tedious manual work, teams can focus on core production. Powered by real-time data analytics, these solutions help drive actionable insights for better decision-making and significantly higher efficiency.
  2. Enterprise Visibility – Real-time data and analytics offer unprecedented visibility of the factory floor and across the enterprise. This visibility lets you unsilo data and leverage a single source of truth to see what is happening now and why it is happening so you can head off problems before they occur.
  3. Process Improvement – Because you have visibility over the entire enterprise in the now, analytical insights help guide teams to problem areas. This enables significant process improvement for known bottlenecks and hidden trends unearthed by analysis.
  4. Process Optimization – Even if a process doesn't need to be revamped or changed, it still can benefit real-time data to optimize it further. Smart manufacturing solutions offer precision, accuracy, and a granular understanding that lets you optimize processes on the fly. This improves quality, efficiency, resource usage, and other cost centers impacted by inflation.
  5. Inventory – A robust smart manufacturing platform seamlessly integrates with ERP, MES, SCP, and other systems. The real-time data on the shop floor and the inputs for demand are all under the same analytical umbrella. Critical inventory decisions like JIT, FIFO, and other methodologies are more accurate. Companies using smart manufacturing technology can realize a genuinely accurate perpetual inventory system with an unprecedented level of accuracy.
  6. Supply Chain Optimization – Smart manufacturing solutions are extensible beyond the production floor. The same visibility that improves shop floor decision-making is possible across the supply chain. Here, logistics, lead time, minimum order quantity, supplier performance, and others can lean on the same analytics to reduce the impact of inflation in these critical areas.

Use Smart Manufacturing Solutions to Stay Ahead of the Game and Inflation

Smart manufacturing solutions are already ushering in unprecedented gains and improvements in efficiency, process improvement, and more. But by fully implementing this technology and weaving a digital thread through your enterprise, you can leverage these same benefits to fight inflation tactically and strategically to give you a competitive edge.

Don’t know where to start your smart manufacturing journey? We’ve got you covered. The Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform™ offers real-time data analytics and seamless integration across a software suite to empower your decision-makers with the most accurate insights needed to improve your operation and fight inflation. Learn more about the powerful technology and how it can work for you right here.

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.