How Collaborative Manufacturing Environments Support Digital Transformation

Collaborative manufacturing to support digital transformation

The stronger the internal collaboration of a manufacturing business, the more resilient to market demands they become. Collaborative manufacturing environments that are a competitive strength can withstand labor and supply chain shortages, unexpected inflationary costs, and more. Achieving productivity gains with a connected worker strategy becomes possible with greater collaboration.

It’s in the DNA of the strongest collaborative environments to bounce back from adversity, often learning from setbacks and emerging stronger for the experience. Because of these factors and more, collaborative manufacturing environments are the cornerstone of any successful digital transformation strategy.

Connecting People, Processes & Data in Real-Time

Improving internal collaboration starts by recognizing how valuable real-time data is to every department getting work done on the shop floor and across a production center. Every department, team, and employee needs to know what’s happening with each order. Real-time data sharing across every employee on the shop floor and supporting the department opens up new opportunities to collaborate and drive digital manufacturing initiatives..

In addition, real-time production and process monitoring connect people, processes, and data in real-time, enabling new opportunities to share information and knowledge. Digitally transforming any manufacturing business needs to start on the shop floor, with a collaborative manufacturing environment enabling productivity gains.

Real-time data also powers digital technology platforms that connect people and processes with the data each needs to communicate clearly and quickly to get orders shipped on time. Sharing real-time production and process monitoring data between ERP, MES, QMS, WMS, and CRM systems on a single digital platform enables frequent communication, leading to more in less time. Relying on a digital platform to improve collaboration leads workers to make fewer errors, respond to customer inquiries faster, and know in advance the best tools, machinery, and materials to fulfill every customer’s order.

How Creating a Collaborative Manufacturing Environment Pays

Being able to withstand unseen and often unpredictable shifts in supply chains, customer preferences, and costs is a true test of how strong a manufacturing environment is. Results achieved from collaborative manufacturing environments making contributions to cost reductions and revenue gains include the following:

  • Reducing operating costs and delays by having better visibility and control across the shop floor. The more collaborative a manufacturing environment is, the faster small problems get fixed that could turn into production delays across the shop floor. Manufacturers strong at collaboration are more effective at keeping production schedules on track, optimizing machinery assignments for given production runs, and getting the maximum yields possible from limited raw materials.
  • Delivering measurable gains to shop floor productivity and performance. When workers and teams have a 360-degree view of what’s happening across the shop floor, they often anticipate each other’s needs beforehand to help keep orders moving through production. For example, supplier management can see that resin restocking is needed on a series of extrusion machines within the next day. Collaborative manufacturing environments also help reduce lead times and manufacturing costs by helping to optimize the manufacturing process.
  • Increased production throughput, improved machine yield rates, and consistent product quality. Creating more opportunities for teams and employees to collaborate using a digital platform that shares real-time production and process monitoring data helps improve production efficiency and quality. ERP and MES systems provide data-driven insights into how each production run can be optimized given machinery, labor, materials, and time constraints. In addition, QMS uses real-time data to track machinery and process performance to ensure it stays consistent, yielding the highest quality products possible from every production run.
  • Increases sales and recurring revenue by meeting and beating customer delivery dates. The best test regarding how collaborative a manufacturing environment is how effective it is in meeting and exceeding customer expectations. From initial order entry being accurate to product quality being at or above expectations, including perfect order performance, collaborative teams excel on this dimension. When collaboration is strong, manufacturers keep growing despite economic uncertainty.

Conclusion

Creating and continually strengthening a collaborative manufacturing environment needs to start by having every team gain a 360-degree view of the plant floor and know how their efforts contribute to meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Manufacturers become more resilient when they can continually improve the collative environment that becomes part of the DNA of their businesses. The stronger the collaboration, the more likely a manufacturer will be able to reduce operating costs, see shop floor productivity gains, increase production efficiency and drive new sales.

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