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Cloud Emerging as Innovation Platform for Manufacturing, Plex Study Finds
TROY, Mich.—A recent study by Plex finds a host of emerging technologies converging on the shop floor to transform how things are made, track products across a global supply chain, streamline materials handling, and improve shop safety and product quality. Plex, a developer of cloud ERP for manufacturing, examined the use of technology by more than 130 leading manufacturing organizations in its first-ever Plex State of Manufacturing Technology study.
Alex Sigafoose, a materials handler for Plex customer Fisher & Company, wears Google Glass paired with a wrist scanner to access and send data in real-time to the Plex manufacturing cloud.
(Photo: Business Wire)
One of the study’s key findings is that cloud technologies are powering innovation. Forty percent of respondents drew a direct correlation between cloud technologies and their ability to drive innovation in their own products over the next five years. But in addition to delivering enterprise software more efficiently and cost effectively, the cloud is now demonstrating real improvements in manufacturing operations. Sixty-six percent of respondents reported seeing improvements in plant productivity after deploying cloud systems, while 74 percent achieved operating process improvements and 61 percent said they achieved better quality in their own products.
Another key finding is that manufacturers are continuously experimenting, adapting, and leveraging new technologies to improve all aspects of their operations. Eighty percent reported using consumer mobile devices, such as tablets and webcams, to access, stream, and share information across large production facilities and global supply chains. Fifty-five percent of the respondents indicated they use IP-enabled tools and machines, which automatically adjust to meet product specifications and capture rich, real-time data for traceability.
“This study illustrates that cloud software, once a low-cost path to plant automation, has become a crucial tool for manufacturers working to capitalize on new technologies, collaborate across the supply chain, gain operational insights, foster innovation, and dramatically improve efficiencies throughout the supply chain.”
—Jerry Foster, CTO for Plex
Jerry Foster, chief technology officer for Plex, said in a release from the company that cloud software is “a crucial tool for manufacturers.”
“The ladder of continuous innovation starts at the shop floor, where new materials, processes, and technology are put into production every day,” said Foster. “This study illustrates that cloud software, once a low-cost path to plant automation, has become a crucial tool for manufacturers working to capitalize on new technologies, collaborate across the supply chain, gain operational insights, foster innovation, and dramatically improve efficiencies throughout the supply chain.”
Jim Shepherd, vice president of strategy for Plex, also commented on the cloud’s role in fueling innovation on the shop floor.
“The cloud is becoming the core platform for rapidly integrating new technologies and achieving competitive advantage, enabling manufacturers to drive plant connectivity, process efficiency, and innovation in their operations and their finished products,” said Shepherd in the release. “The transition to cloud-based solutions is catalyzing a new technology adoption curve among manufacturers: Companies are embracing tablets, webcams, scanners, IP enabled tools, and sensors in their operations at a faster rate than any previous transition.”
The full report is available at www.plex.com:
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