Manufacturing is in the early stages of digital transformation, beginning to connect unconnected equipment, devices and other assets to the network. This evolution into the smart factory will enable a greater degree of automation, improve efficiency and productivity, and make analytics-based processes possible.
Another challenge manufacturers and distribution centers are facing is improving data collection accuracy and inventory visibility. In light of growing competition and customer demand for faster fulfillment, DCs are also looking for ways to improve the accuracy and efficiency of picking processes.
How Technology Can Address the Manufacturing and Distribution Industry’s Needs
Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced solutions will help connect equipment and assets at the edge to the network. Manufacturers can also leverage IT solutions to track assets, remotely monitor and manage equipment and devices, and use RFID technology to automatically detect RFID tags as they pass by a reader without having to establish a line of sight — and without the need for human intervention to collect data.
Manufacturers can also benefit from communications solutions, for use both within a facility and to connect team members based at different locations, and from physical security and access control solutions that ensure only authorized personnel enter restricted areas or carry out critical processes.
Why Manufacturing and Distribution are an Ideal Fit for Services
Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and cloud-based analytics solutions give manufacturers the tools they need to innovate while requiring them to invest in and maintain only a minimal amount of hardware on site. Energy and facilities management solutions prevent costly downtime, enabling operations to continue even when there is a utility outage. Services can also reduce the burden on in-house resources by, for example, managing wireless devices from provisioning and deployment and throughout their lifecycle and monitoring and maintaining the wireless network to ensure optimal performance.