2020 was for many companies set to be an amazing year, building on the global economic growth of the latest past years. Now, as a result of the global economic decline, reality looks completely different. While the current crisis affects everyone, the manufacturing and supply chains in particular have faced severe disruptions.
Our habits and norms of the ways we do business has changed, and it will leave an impact in years to come as well. Manufacturers will have to adapt to a new normal, as going back to business as usual for most companies, is simply not an option.
To this end, companies that implement solutions that combine Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems in the cloud will face a brighter future and stay operational even during a global crisis.
A unique opportunity to assess your current business
The aftermath of the crisis will be felt for a long time, so it is important to make the most of it and figure out how to stay competitive during a time of turmoil. Right now, the market is fluctuating, and there are a lot of uncertainties for both the nearby and long-term future. Accordingly, planned investments and strategies for 2020 will for many be put on hold, and many manufacturers will try to whether the storm by focusing on ensuring the continuity of critical-business operations, to be as cost-beneficial as possible.
However, while we are slowed down by a market in stagnation, this opens up an opportunity for you to spend your time assessing how your existing IT solutions and day-to-day operations can run better and faster. A crisis can be exactly what is needed to innovate, make you move faster and help you figure out how to solve your problems in new ways.
Now is a great time to put the fear of disruption aside and instead embrace new solutions so you can be ahead of competition as a first mover when things eventually turn to normality.
The New Normal
As a result of less physical interaction in the wake of the crisis, people are more connected than ever through digital means. Although we have had access to this technology for a long time, the current crisis shows us the true benefits of the technology now. Up to this point much of this technology is taken for granted.
One of the immediate challenges in the current business climate is maintaining collaboration and communication, when many people are forced to work remotely. In discrete manufacturing and engineering this is especially the case. Engineers from multiple sites, disciplines and countries must consistently coordinate co-development, production and service. They use different design applications and manage complex CAD files that cannot simply be shared in an excel sheet format. In many companies, IT and old PLM and legacy systems cannot handle this kind of remote work.
Working remotely, complicates exchanging ideas and information stored in source and work files for engineering, operations and manufacturing teams. They need the proper digital communication and data managing tools to support that.
How a global crisis impacts engineering and manufacturing
Here are some of the most significant ways the current crisis impacts the business of engineers and discrete manufacturers:
- Scattered information and missing files: Production and engineering files online in formats such as Excel, Word and PDF attachments, are stored in different databases or on-premise legacy applications, poorly integrated with each other. This makes it difficult to share file locations and desktop software run only on designated workstations using VPNs.
- A lack of system integration: Using siloed solutions is a pitfall; without a tight integration, disjointed systems will slow down data traceability and the management of end-to-end business workflows.
- Sharing information up and downstream the supply chain: If there is no visibility in existing processes and essential data, sharing critical project and product information without making costly mistakes becomes near impossible.
- Exchanging engineering change requests: CAD files are often too big and complex to be shared online in on-premise solutions. When engineers work remotely, communicating the latest incremental design changes is a cumbersome and error-prone process.
- Miscommunication: Leads to extremely costly mistakes that can delay production for months.
- Managing engineering, manufacturing and service operations dispersed across the globe: With a globally dispersed supply chain network, connecting and sharing information with internal and external partners, suppliers and customers globally dispersed is difficult.
Achieve the competitive edge with ERP-based PLM – now and for the future to come
In a fluctuating business climate, manufacturers will be looking for solutions that gives quick wins and a fast ROI. Companies don’t know what to expect from customers, suppliers and partners when things eventually start turning around, so a big priority are quick wins that can make an immediate impact on bottom line results.
Connection is the new normal – staying connected virtually allows people to work and communicate even during a crisis. Cloud infrastructure can simplify many integration challenges and connect your enterprise by unlocking PLM functionality.
When taking connectivity to its full extend, PLM is integrated with an ERP system. This offers your engineering, operational and manufacturing teams the means to extend their work into a single virtual environment in the cloud. Here they can seamlessly share information, collaborate and connect anytime and anywhere.
Bluestar PLM – Unparalleled levels of connection between engineering and manufacturing – in the cloud
As a PLM embedded in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and AX, Bluestar PLM is a solution that provides a complete integration between CAD, PLM and ERP running in a single system – D365/AX. Bluestar PLM is the missing link that connects engineers with operations and manufacturing in D365, by bringing them all onboard the D365/AX platform. As Bluestar is a cloud-based platform, users can access it from any desktop, giving them access to critical product related data from any location.
With Bluestar you will be able to:
- Work in a shared digital environment with a single source of product truth. Files and documents are accessible online – even complex CAD files that are stored in a local vault are synchronized with the cloud.
- Achieve a complete integration of a variety of design tools both MCAD and ECAD for seamless co-development and collaboration between disciplines.
- Run your global operations with dispersed teams in a single workspace in the cloud. This will be a must have in the future: run everything, irrespective of location, office and site in real-time.
- Learn how to use Bluestar PLM in a virtual training environment: the Bluestar Academy e-learning platform, allows for faster implementation for users, teaching them step-by-step the best practice use of the Bluestar PLM application
- Save the efforts and costs of looking for scattered information through a seamless re-use of original data, in turn shrinking the time to market
Pivoting the business in this way, when things starts turning back to normality, can really give you a head start and give you the competitive edge. You will experience a faster time to market, lower costs and have the means to be more innovative.
With both a fast ROI, a quick and scalable implementation and operational improvements, you will stay competitive both short-term and in the long run.
Limitless connection and collaboration is the future of business, so why not start right now?