Manufacturing in 2017 and Beyond
Using Manufacturing ERP Software to Meet the Next Revolution
Manufacturing ERP software paves the way for companies to enter into this new fourth era of manufacturing. Yes, we’re entering a brave new world of manufacturing, powered by technology, driven by data, and serving a global community. The Industrial Revolution kicked off manufacturing as we know it today, but we are now entering uncharted territory.
The first wave of manufacturing was, of course, that famous revolution that saw innovations in manufacturing everything from clothing to shoes. New steam and water-powered engines fueling vast weaving machines made manufacturing faster, producing less expensive goods for public consumption. The second wave of manufacturing was ushered in by Henry Ford, who positioned the assembly line as the new method of manufacturing consumer goods quickly and inexpensively.
Now we are leaving the third wave of manufacturing and entering the fourth. The third brought us automated systems: information technology, computerized processing, and robotic assembly lines that transformed how manufacturers build products.
The fourth wave or revolution of manufacturing uses cyber-physical systems to bring goods to customers with more precision and accuracy than ever before. It’s an exciting time for manufacturers throughout North America and, indeed, throughout the world. Powered by manufacturing ERP software, the data driven by these new systems can help companies achieve prosperity and productivity.
Customer-Centric Mass Production
Since the earliest days of towns and villages, goods were hand-produced for individuals. The local tailor knew your measurements and cut the cloth for your suit by hand. The cobbler had a last or mold of your feet to create a pair of boots just for you. With the rise of the industrial revolution, mass production of goods, and computer-assisted factories, hand-crafted goods took a quiet backseat to inexpensive mass-produced goods.
Now we are entering an age where cyber-production is transforming the quality of goods yet once again. Personalization is producing everything from same-day dental crowns, milled from 3D images taken in the dentist’s office, to 3D printers producing other goods and services. Soon, the proponents of cyber production promise us, we will see mass customization rather than mass production.
Image a world in which instead of ordering thousands of car seats for an assembly line at an automobile factory you can customize the order to request fifty of one model and four hundred of another. Or perhaps you have a custom order for a vintage reproduction car seat for a 1960s Rambler someone is restoring; simply produce the specs and the computer can make it to order at the same or similar cost to old-fashioned mass production. It’s possible in this new fourth dimension of manufacturing.
Although we’re not yet at the point in which manufacturers can completely customize a production run like the car seat example, we are getting close. Predictive analytics, available now with some manufacturing ERP software, can help companies scan orders and find patterns to predict future ordering trends. Manufacturers can then use data to produce a close match between supply and demand.
Manufacturing: Always Changing
Not since Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin or the first mills produced reams of inexpensive cotton textiles has the face of manufacturing changed quite like it did in the 1980s with the advent of computer-assisted production. Today’s new systems are slowly turning manufacturers away from technology and into the world of artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and custom orders.
It may seem like we’re forging ahead to some, and to others, that we’ve gone full circle. From custom, handmade goods to customized machine-made goods, the future looks bright for manufacturing. Manufacturing ERP software is part of this bright future and provides data for all your business decisions.
We’d like to invite you to check out our new videos showcasing manufacturing ERP software, such as Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) and other products, that will help you maximize the data from your business. Learn more on our website.
Learn more about customer-centric manufacturing software by reading Customer-Centric ERP: Integrated Systems for Satisfied Customers.
IWI Consulting offers ERP consulting and systems to help you manage your data efficiently. With the right ERP systems, you’ll never feel as if you’re drowning in data. We can help you select the best system for your needs and learn how to use it for maximum benefit. Contact IWI Consulting at 1-866-916-3851.