4 minute read 25 May 2019
How Pre-built, Integrated Applications

How pre-built, integrated applications can accelerate smart factory adoption

By

Craig Lyjak

EY Global Smart Factory Leader

Operational Excellence thought leader. Digital innovator. Passionate developer of people. Foodie. Father.

4 minute read 25 May 2019

Accelerate your progress toward the smart factory with the EY Smart Factory framework, powered by Microsoft Azure.

Interest in the smart factory continues to grow among manufacturers, with most currently experimenting with various foundational smart factory technologies. Now, it is time for manufacturers to figure out how to move past these pilot initiatives and begin rolling out applications on a broader scale — and, consequently, see much more impactful returns.

How can manufacturers accelerate their progress? One way is to employ the EY Smart Factory framework, powered by Microsoft Azure. The EY Smart Factory’s pre-built applications have been designed for four use cases that offer significant potential business value from digitization.

These applications help address a fundamental factor that drives a successful deployment: a holistic view — across people, processes and technology — of what is needed for smart factory implementations to generate the return that manufacturers hope for.

Maintenance management

Unplanned equipment downtime is one of the biggest fears that manufacturers have, as it can render a major financial hit. For instance, in the automotive industry, just one minute of an unexpected stoppage can cost a company an average of $22,0001. The Smart Maintenance Management application includes capabilities for creating digital twins of key equipment so that a manufacturer can predict equipment failure well before it actually happens.

This helps manufacturers proactively plan for interventions that will keep the equipment in production. It can also incorporate a mixed reality function, based on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist application and Microsoft HoloLens. This helps enable experts and technicians to remotely troubleshoot complex problems on the shop floor.

Thus, it helps save time, reduce travel costs and improve operational efficiency. On an average, the Smart Maintenance Management application can help manufacturers cut unplanned downtime by as much as 35%.

Quality management

Another big issue for manufacturers is minimizing loss that can drive up costs and erode performance. The Smart Quality Management application employs artificial intelligence and other technologies that perform real-time process monitoring and modeling to optimize processes at levels that historically were impossible to reach.

This, in turn, enables a manufacturer to approach zero-loss yields across its facilities. The potential impact in this area is quite significant. We have found that in many cases, the Smart Quality Management application has paid for itself in well less than a year.

Energy management

It takes a lot of energy to run a typical manufacturing process. But, it is not always easy to determine how effectively a company is using energy. That is where the Smart Energy Management application comes in.

Meters and data models applied to each line enable manufacturers to track energy consumption for each individual stock keeping unit (SKU). This can help them identify opportunities to optimize each SKU’s performance. The application also identifies typical non-productive energy usage — for instance, machines cycling even when they are not being used — and quantifies the related cost.

Most manufacturers are surprised by how much money they are actually losing simply by not being more diligent about how they consume energy. Smart Energy Management can also help manufacturers reduce their carbon footprint, which is a growing concern for all companies. This is another big benefit.

Planning and materials management

While the preceding three applications focus on what is happening inside a manufacturer’s facility, the fourth helps a manufacturer optimize the performance of its broader supply chain. The Smart Planning and Materials Management application includes analytics tools that help a manufacturer synchronize supply and demand more effectively. This is especially critical for manufacturers with highly complex, variable supply chains featuring a myriad players.

This approach also helps manufacturers understand the value of synchronization in both minimizing inventory and improving customer service. These four use cases are practical applications of digital technologies that are focused on creating value today and not in the distant future.

For example, a manufacturer with a $10 million annual utility bill can reduce that spend by as much as 15% in the first year and by 5% annually after that with Smart Energy Management and related process improvements. All four use cases could help a manufacturer reduce energy consumption, maintenance, logistics and material loss costs by 25% to 40%.

Plus, these applications are tried and tested, having been deployed by many manufacturers producing a wide range of products. Because they are pre-built and leverage Microsoft Cloud, they enable manufacturers to experiment without incurring a big upfront cost — a major barrier to adopting new technologies.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 enables manufacturers to unify relationships, processes and data across not only the shop floor but the entire organization. This helps manufacturers quickly scale their pilots from there.

Manufacturers are feeling the pressure to become digital

Like most companies, manufacturers are feeling the pressure to become far more digital than they are today. The smart factory is perhaps the most visible example of what that means in practice. By taking advantage of digital applications that deliver tangible value and reduce risk, manufacturers can confidently accelerate their progress toward the smart factory and the broader digital transformation they will need for future success.

Summary

Manufacturers have long been experimenting with various smart factory technologies; however, now they feel the pressure to become far more digital than they are today. The EY Smart Factory framework, powered by Microsoft Azure, helps manufacturers go beyond pilot initiatives and offers significant potential business value from digitization. 

The EY Smart Factory has pre-built applications that are tried and tested by many manufacturers. Because they are pre-built and leverage Microsoft Cloud, these applications enable manufacturers to experiment without incurring a big upfront cost.

About this article

By

Craig Lyjak

EY Global Smart Factory Leader

Operational Excellence thought leader. Digital innovator. Passionate developer of people. Foodie. Father.