The answers, given by those who succeeded in their approach, are made visible by a significant business transformation. From selling a product, the business is moving to selling a service (product-as-a-service). Michelin, which sells travelled kilometers or a number of landings, is an often-cited example of this transformation of the customer-supplier relationship.
Impacts on production
The change in the relationship between customers and suppliers obviously has a direct impact on the production shop floor. In any case, the transformation of the company will be a success but only if the production becomes sufficiently agile. In other words, it is able to make smaller series (especially in Europe to cover multiple languages and regulations) and customize mass products while keeping competitive production costs.
Therefore, the solution involves reviewing operations within the company, underpinned by a high level of standardization of the production processes and of the performance indicators that have been defined in line with the company's strategy.
Important parts of the information system
Manufacturing execution system (MES) and manufacturing operations management (MOM) are both central and key elements of the information system.
The implementation of redesigned processes in the field necessarily involves digitization and a revision of the architecture of industrial information systems. MES/MOM software has a central location in architecture as it is the orchestrator of production activities, supporting operators in collaboration with supply chain, quality, and maintenance teams. The implementation of a MES/MOM software, enhanced by new technologies such as Internet of Things connectivity, augmented reality (Human-Machine Interface), artificial intelligence, opens the door to a pro-active supervision. MES software is no longer just a reporting tool. Through a real-time view of the planning, it gives visibility on what will be the short term. In particular, the system is highlighting predictable hazards such as conflict in resource allocation and giving plant supervisors the time to think and take the best decision from a unified environment.
In this context, the MES/MOM software is the main element that will allow the transformation of customer-supplier relationships. It becomes an essential element while conducting production activities, just like programmable logic controllers!
The approach presented here is often crucial to the survival of the company in a very competitive world. Treating it in the right order is the key to success.
Even though MES/MOM software is now mature and ready to quickly support flexible processes, digital transformation is a process that takes time (minimum 2 years from first decision) and requires the mobilization of all departments of the company!