How manufacturers can tackle issues head on

How manufacturers can tackle issues head on
Companies across the manufacturing industry are looking for new ways to tackle challenges they face

Caspar Herzberg |

This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of The Record.

Companies in the discrete manufacturing space are facing a spectrum of challenges. But Kevin Bull from Columbus says that, with the right technology in place, enhancements to the business can always be made.

At Columbus, we’ve pinpointed some key areas that discrete manufacturers are currently struggling with. Through our knowledge and experience we have been able to work with many manufacturers to overcome the problems identified in this article.

One area of difficulty we have seen is around maximising assets. Manufacturers must continuously look to boost their bottom line, improve return on investment and squeeze every drop out of these assets. But this inevitably adds stress to a company’s asset base, and some manufacturers need to adopt a 24/7 approach to ensure success.

We believe effective production scheduling is the key to maximum use of assets. Advanced scheduling, improved plant maintenance and harnessing the power of machine learning can all improve processes and provide discrete manufacturers with a cutting edge.

How to do this? Microsoft Dynamics 365 Operations with Columbus empowers business users with insight and intelligence, aiding faster and more accurate decision-making. Manufacturers are also subject to an unrelenting torrent of standards, regulations, due diligence requirements and practices. But by adopting solutions such as Columbus RapidValue for example, manufacturers can start to define and document business processes. RapidValue supports business process modelling, quality management and traceability. This helps manufacturers stay in line with the industry regulations they face. Manufacturers are continuously seeking out the most cost-efficient way to create their products. This has led to a wide array of production and supply chain strategies. These strategies can however, all too often add complexity when it comes to how software is used to support the business.

A combination of traditional discrete manufacturing methods and lean methods can often yield benefits in multi-level builds. Furthermore, access to software such as Power BI and the Cortana Intelligence Suite within Microsoft Azure can help manufacturers to find the solutions to their problems and shape their strategy or products accordingly.

In an ever-changing and increasingly competitive market, manufacturers are also increasingly aware of the need to enhance their time to market and add new streams of revenue where possible. Thanks to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Operations with Columbus, manufacturers can look to enhance and reimagine their processes and stay one step ahead. The manufacturing space is ever-developing. With the right tools and technologies in place however, manufacturers can move with the times and continue to prosper.

Kevin Bull is product strategy director at Columbus

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