The Transparent Smart Factory

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What comes to mind when you think about transparency? In the most literal sense, it means to be able to see right through something. When it comes to software, transparency refers to the ability to see everything that’s going on within the enterprise.

Analysts at Deloitte count transparency as a crucial component of a smart factory.

Read on to learn how smart factories thrive on transparency and how it enables them to be more efficient and effective.

What Powers Transparency?

To achieve transparency, you must have connectivity. Over the years, connectivity has evolved. It’s not enough that equipment transmits information to a siloed database. Today, connectivity means that information is transferred in real time to all the systems and people that need them.

Moreover, connected equipment integrates information from other sources. That integration capability allows it to make better decisions on its own.

What Does It Mean to Be a Transparent Smart Factory?

Transparency means that there are no more data silos. All of the information you need is at your fingertips. In addition, the data you require is available in real time. What does that look like in reality?

Instead of wondering how many raw materials you have left (or that you need to order, for that matter), containers equipped with sensors can tell you what inventory levels look like as well as when you next need to order more raw materials.

What if you didn’t need to imagine what customer demand levels looked like? Software with high levels of transparency built in could give you that insight in a few keystrokes. And what if you could tell your customers exactly where their shipment was in the supply chain at that moment in time? Transparency gives you that capability – containers with sensors and/or products with built-in connectivity can tell you where they are and whether they’ve reached their destination yet.

How Does Transparency Make Manufacturing More Effective and Efficient?

Transparency allows you to be a more effective and efficient manufacturer. How so? It puts data at your disposal that you didn’t have before – data that helps you make better decisions.

For example, you aren’t stuck waiting while your raw materials make their way to your factory after re-ordering them. You get back to business faster, allowing you to satisfy your customers sooner.

Being able to correctly gauge customer demand isn’t out of reach, thanks to transparency. You have access to that information in real time, allowing you to analyze it quickly and understand trends.

Moreover, knowing exactly where in the supply chain a shipment is at the moment is invaluable. You can share this information with the customer, making you more valuable as a supplier and enhancing the relationship. In addition, knowing where a shipment is in the supply chain reduces loss and theft (two enemies of efficiency).

Smart factories are transparent. Human employees can see at an instant what’s going on. They no longer have to guess at what’s going on, allowing them to make smarter decisions for the company.

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