Gearing Up for Industry 4.0 – How to Take Your First Step with Smart Scheduling

by John Buglino

Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing how manufacturers leverage technology. Beyond being digitized, Industry 4.0 expands upon what you were able to accomplish with Industry 3.0. This new frontier in the world of industry takes the technology you’ve implemented—robotics, software as a service (SaaS), the Internet of Things (IoTs), AI, and big data platforms—and integrates them.

This critical integration means that technology no longer sits in silos. It’s working together to fuel automation, predictive analytics, and more, offering you the opportunity to create a flexible, agile smart factory. However, it will take time to leverage Industry 4.0 technologies to their full capacity and drive maximum returns for your organization. This is a long-term pursuit, involving substantial changes to your existing production processes and plant operations. You don’t want to rush to achieve integration. Rather, it’s best to take it one step at a time so your organization can strategically execute your plan.

Why Are Integrations Important in Industry 4.0?

For any Industry 4.0 roadmap, integrations are critical. Platforms, machines, and technology must operate harmoniously. While computers are already facilitating automation, all manufacturing processes must be integrated to achieve a smart factory. With system integration, you create new value with improved functionality.

Capture an Industry 4.0 Win with Small Steps

When considering your acceleration to meet Industry 4.0, it can be overwhelming, considering the thousands of processes in your operation. As such, you should look for an objective that is moderately easy to achieve and will make a significant impact on your operations.

One approach is, to begin with, smart scheduling. It applies to all your operations but isn’t so complex that it would take considerable time to launch it.

Scheduling Is Often Overlooked as an Area for Improvement

Is scheduling an important aspect to your operations? Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked as an area that can drive efficiency. With a focus on scheduling, you can also improve your ability to be competitive and gain market share. If you had never considered its importance, it’s time to reframe your mindset with smart scheduling.

With strategic scheduling, you can control costs, increase throughput, and shorten order to delivery lead time. But many manufacturing leaders don’t look at the opportunities here, seeing it as complicated and time-consuming, leading to frustration.

It’s a pain point for many for several reasons. First, the production environment is a complex one with lots of rules, controls, machinery, people, features, and more. All these variables must be accounted for in scheduling. To scale this, it’s really difficult, especially when using insufficient tools like a spreadsheet.

While some organizations have begun to use scheduling software, the improvements are small. The current application may only provide visualization and the ability to drag and drop orders in a Gantt Chart. Ultimately, this only provides limited optimization, resulting in more manual work.

So, it’s a storm of inconsistencies, complexity, manual efforts, and wasted resources. Even when a schedule is implemented using these tools, it can quickly fall apart when it hits the floor because of the many variables involved.

Smart Scheduling Drives Efficiency

The key to executing smart scheduling for production is the right software. The software you select should have the features and functionality necessary to mitigate these challenges. It also needs to allow you to see and react in real-time for better decision-making.

Every manufacturing plant wants to be as efficient as possible. Efficiency drives cost reduction, improved productivity, quicker order fulfillment, and material stability. It’s hard to meet these objectives if you’re depending on legacy software or, worse yet, manual processes, to optimize scheduling.

When you have a platform that is built to help manufacturers achieve Industry 4.0, then you can:

• Look holistically at multiple production stages and define the most optimal approach.

• Use real-time rescheduling. • Implement high fidelity scheduling that takes into consideration inventory inputs.

Industry 4.0: Schedule Smarter

The evolution to Industry 4.0 is one with small steps instead of giant leaps. Begin your journey by learning more about smart scheduling with Optessa’s intelligent manufacturing scheduling software.

Get in touch today for a quick demo.