What if one-day factories could function primarily on their own and self-regulate and self-balance production? What if production intercommunications were all at an all-time-high and real-time level? What if such a production environment could communicate across the entire supply chain spectrum? Since the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing and production have gradually become a less and less cumbersome endeavor to monitor input, flow, and output and optimize production methods and overall capacity. Moreover, broad advancements in technology have cumulatively altered production; Industry 4.0, IoT, and Smart Factory 4.0 are manifesting in our midsts.
As production is maximized with machines and robotics, the need for direct human-oriented labor is lessening. The initial wave of industry revamps is relatively old in terms of "work" compared to what production facilities utilize to produce output today and approach Industry 4.0. Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 has found its way into operations around the globe and is changing the way production facilities function within the supply chain and how supply chains interconnect. The availability of real-time data from the micro to the macro, anywhere on earth, will be just a click or query away.
Smart Factory 4.0
The perks of Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 seem to be endless and scalable in terms of production. As this arriving system is integrated into factories and supply chains worldwide, production is becoming infinitely accountable and auditable. Human intervention is barely needed in some instances, which has excellent benefits when producing volatile materials such as chemicals and hazardous material ingredients. With each system making decisions on its own, facilitating flow based on known machine capacity and up-to-minute feedback data, it produces a self-balancing system that can be viewed and manipulated remotely. There are multiple attributes an operation must need before it is grouped into a Smart Factory 4.0 production facility; these attributes include:
- Decentralization Resolutions - system making a decision based on data presented throughout the production facility
- IT Aid - utilization of system resources to aid humans in complex problem-solving and assistance of tasks that humans are unable to complete
- Systemic Exchange of Information - communication through a network of machines, humans, and the system itself
The perks of this paradigm are highly beneficial to a facility that is looking for improvement in production and overall efficiency. Still, along with these perks, there are also many drawbacks such as:
- Vulnerability of Susceptible Data - security among systems can become an issue, with the amount of web usage putting a facility at risk of breaches or exploitations
- Human-Oriented Labor Loss - this is becoming a growing concern as machines begin to replace humans in the factory.
- Maintenance of Digital Conveyance - overseeing the system can be challenging based on human reliability and sustainability.
Although these drawbacks are a legitimate concern for the manufacturing industry, Smart Factory 4.0 is still becoming a top choice for operations pursuing maximum efficiency. As production facilities move toward technology-orientated system integrations, this model could be a step in the right direction.
APS Integration with Smart Manufacturing Technology
Advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems utilized as a hub that collect data and relay it to upstream or downstream entities are geared very much toward Smart Factory and Industry 4.0. Therefore, if you are trying to attain Smart Factory 4.0 status, then look into APS as one of the many ways to get data cross-integrated and high visibility.