Real-Time Is Where It’s at with Integrated Manufacturing Business Systems

Real-Time Is Where It’s at with Integrated Manufacturing Business Systems
Real-Time Is Where It’s at with Integrated Manufacturing Business Systems

In the not so distant past, industrial business systems—particularly enterprise resource planning (ERP)—were not synchronized in real time. Instead, work orders and inventory releases were sent on paper or electronically to initiate production operations. On any given day, the manufacturing business was blind to what happened in production until much later, when plant information was fed back into the system in the so-called “backflush.” Today, however, integrated manufacturing business systems are executing and processing real-time transactions, allowing companies to thrive in the Internet era and meet the needs of customers and the modern supply chain.

Integrated manufacturing business systems are a key trend highlighted in’s 7th Annual Industrial Automation & Control Trends Report.

Leading organizations recognize the value of complete integration, leveraging significant advances in technology, communications, and software to achieve digital manufacturing synchronization. The goal is to ameliorate long-term inefficiencies caused by loosely coupled manufacturing and production operations that are not synchronized to the rest of the company’s business systems.

As organizations are driving forward to provide roadmaps, models and standards for manufacturing digitalization, open standards are emerging as a key enabler. First seen in the information technology (IT) and commercial computing industry, open standards enable a great deal of collaboration between IT and manufacturing operations technology (OT) software experts to create real-time, data driven systems.

Companies must transition to integrated, real-time, data-driven manufacturing to compete worldwide.  Why? Low labor costs are no longer a successful competitive strategy, and technology advances are enabling integration and automation at a significantly lower cost.  The Industry 4.0 initiative, started in Germany, has ignited worldwide cooperative efforts in other countries including China, Japan, Mexico, India, Italy, Portugal and Indonesia.

Manufacturing digitalization is about becoming a more effective, holistic and competitive business. The foundations of manufacturing and production are being reshaped by their integration into a comprehensive real-time business system, creating more efficient and responsive production to increase sales and profits.

Learn more

The 7th Annual Industrial Automation & Control Trends Report provides in-depth information and analysis on integrated manufacturing business systems and other topics on the manufacturing digital transformation.  Learn more about this and other trends in the 2022 Annual Report.

About The Author

Bill Lydon brings more than 10 years of writing and editing expertise to, plus more than 25 years of experience designing and applying technology in the automation and controls industry. Lydon started his career as a designer of computer-based machine tool controls; in other positions, he applied programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and process control technology. Working at a large company, Lydon served a two-year stint as part of a five-person task group, that designed a new generation building automation system including controllers, networking, and supervisory & control software. He also designed software for chiller and boiler plant optimization. Bill was product manager for a multimillion-dollar controls and automation product line and later cofounder and president of an industrial control software company.

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