ManufacturingApril 11, 2018

People and Data in the IIoT Age

In my long career in manufacturing operations, I have had many discussions with product design teams for discrete manufacturing.
Avatar Andrew Hughes

In my long career in manufacturing operations, I have had many discussions with product design teams for discrete manufacturing. These discussions have ranged from pure delight to taxing because while the product designers were smart and creative they were also somewhat self-centered. Sharing of data has been a natural extension of sharing ideas, goals, and success for those of us who have worked together in design and operations, and data sharing usually resulted in new products.

Manufacturing Process Management

Manufacturing process management (MPM) addresses the design of manufacturing processes from product design to engineering to manufacturing bills of materials (BOM), and it defines how the product will be built. It is the process that brings product lifecycle management (PLM) and Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) together to ensure manufacturability and efficiency of the production process. MPM is not a one-off activity and should always be a part of any continuous improvement program in a product or process.

Defining and converting BOMs is a vital part of MPM and is often a people-centric process. Tools are available to help convert BOMs, and PLM systems ensure different versions of BOMs are consistent. But much of the value-add comes from the design and manufacturing engineers who handle the data. These versions will be used beyond PLM and MOM, and so data management is critical; therein lies an age-old issue: master data management (MDM).

The primary task of corporate business systems such as ERP is to handle data across the enterprise. ERPs have systems to ensure data is consistent between applications, and support manufacturing data for business processes under their charge. For example, purchasing systems know what parts to buy, and sales applications know how to configure products for customers. Both these systems require their own BOMs that are consistent with the primary engineering BOM (EBOM) and manufacturing BOM (MBOM). Most ERPs manage these within their MDM systems. PLM systems that maintain the engineers’ view of the truth compete with ERP systems that contains IT’s view, and nobody wins.

People and Data in the IIoT Age

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This post originally appeared on the LNS Research Blog

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