Industrial enterprises around the world are retooling their factories with advanced technologies to boost manufacturing flexibility and speed, achieving new levels of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), supply chain responsiveness, and customer satisfaction in the process. This renaissance reflects very real pressures industry players face today. For years, traditional factories have been operating at a disadvantage, impeded by production environments that are “disconnected”—at the very least strictly gated—to corporate business systems, to supply chains, and to customers and partners.
Managers of these traditional factories say the feeling is akin to flying blind. These are operations where plant floors, front offices, and suppliers operate in independent silos, where managers have only hazy visibility into downtime and quality problems, and where the root causes of inefficiencies are rarely understood or addressed.