For manufacturers, a lack of visibility persists

Production companies are well aware of the risks associated with having an inaccurate perception of the procurement process. Frequently communicating with suppliers ensures quality control and sustainability standards are being supported. 

What's happening in-house?

However, visibility into their own processes seems to be lacking. According to a survey of 252 manufacturing engineers, product designers and quality management experts conducted by location intelligence software developer Ubisense, 40 percent of respondents have no real-time perception of what's occurring in their facilities. 

This means that if a piece of equipment is malfunctioning, it may take factory managers exponentially longer to assess and resolve such an issue. Adjusting output according to demand on a holistic scale is equally difficult, which could cause enterprises to produce more goods than the market requires. 

"The manufacturing world is talking about Industry 4.0, but this survey confirmed that most manufacturers are far from embracing cyber-physical systems which define the next Industrial Revolution," said Ubisense CTO Adrian Jennings. 

On the other hand, 40 percent of participants are using real-time visibility solutions in order to predict issues before they occur, allowing engineers and facility managers to avoid detrimental disruptions. 

What is Industry 4.0? 

In reference to Jennings' assertion, Industry 4.0 refers to the age in which smart devices communicate with each other, as well as their controllers. Management can conduct mission-critical responsibilities through a virtual display. While requiring enormous computing power, Industry 4.0 enables manufacturers to achieve corporate cost reduction by recognizing and taking advantage of efficiency opportunities. 

One example of Industry 4.0 is Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation's integration of radio frequency identification technology into its fabrication and assembly processes. The company collaborated with Kubica to develop a custom platform that uses RFID to track products as they travel through production, offering real-time data analysis while providing visibility into Deere-Hitachi's manufacturing system. 

"Since implementation, we've significantly decreased manual efforts," said Deere-Hitachi Manufacturing Engineer Kevin Solesbee. "This has enabled us to incorporate more work-intensive models into our machine lineup without adding manpower. The system is up and running, and already, the improvements are noticeable. As we make internal changes, we expect to see more tangible data."

Dennis Kubica, Kubica's CEO, noted the company combined Wi-Fi and mobile technologies provided by Cisco, which allowed real-time transparency to become a reality. Customizing the Kubica solution to Deere-Hitachi's needs was a key component of the process.

When considering such a solution, conducting a spend analysis to figure out what the deployment will cost is absolutely necessary. Weigh options presented by multiple developers. 

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