Plex CEO, Bill Berutti, kicked off PowerPlex 2019 by welcoming nearly 1,000 manufacturing technology leaders to Detroit. Presentations shared Tuesday covered everything from best practices to the latest technology innovations and how manufacturing leaders are addressing industry challenges like the impact of tariffs, a major shortage of skilled workers, and fluctuating customer demand.
Despite the myriad of topics, one thing remains clear: connected manufacturing has emerged as the tried-and-true path to a successful future for manufacturers the world over. Here are the ways manufacturers are staying ahead.
Connecting to Transform
Richard Murray, Plex Chief Product Officer, reminded the audience that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the invention of the Internet—one of the most transformative innovations for the manufacturing industry. For Plex and the manufacturers that run on the Plex Manufacturing Cloud, the Internet has also been the foundation for digital transformation in the era of Industry 4.0. And with the cloud, the Internet connects machines, suppliers, systems, and people for insight that leads to the transformation of operations and business value.
Focusing on Core Strengths
Plex is doubling down on its core: delivering innovative functionality that supports manufacturers as they make the products that impact our world. This includes streamlining the usability of Plex, as represented by the Control Panel, the unified production hub that monitors and controls inventory, quality, and production in real time. Sourced directly from customer requests and input, these enhancements will make it even faster for new personnel to get up to speed on the shop floor.
Enabling production resource planning has also become a focus area for the Plex Manufacturing Cloud. Manufacturers need to be able to keep inventory levels low and cost at a minimum. Plex has responded by further enhancing its industry leading Finite Scheduling, introducing new features like scheduled downtime for maintenance activities, accounting for automated clean-down, and overhauling the interface with drag and drop functionality. With this renewed focus on core manufacturing operations features, Plex demonstrates its commitment to creating success for manufacturers in every step of their operations on the shop floor.
Extending the Plex Manufacturing Cloud
Supply Chain Planning is another focus area as Plex plans for the increasingly complex and responsive global supply chains its customers operate in. A new advanced planning application helps manufacturers create flexible planning hierarchies for forecasting inventory needs and comparison of actual demand. Instead of reacting as changes happen, manufacturers can be proactive and understand what needs to be done before there’s an inventory shortage, as well as prevent excess inventory. Users can also see capacity constraints. Additionally, there will be integration to IHS (information handling services) data where manufacturers can use this to create even more powerful forecasts.
Driving Connectivity Forward
Anurag Garg, Plex Vice President of Analytics and IIoT, took the stage next and talked about his excitement to help customers become leaders in leveraging their data on the shop floor with the latest Plex innovation, Plex Industrial IoT. Plex’s first IIoT solution helps put past data into context, monitors machine activity in real-time, and gives insight into future shop floor trends. Bob Bierwagen, VP Digital Strategy for MPI Corporation, joined Anurag onstage to discuss their partnership and the successful implementation of the product in a real-world manufacturing environment. Plex customers have been on the forefront of manufacturing technology for years and this is yet another way the Plex Manufacturing Cloud community is separating themselves from their competition. Plex Industrial IoT will be available with the summer release on July 17.
Plex customers demonstrate that connected manufacturing is how leaders in the industry are separating themselves from the rest. And while challenges continue to put pressure on manufacturers, Plex customers have a robust roadmap for technology that solves many of them—and sets them up to take advantage of future opportunities.
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