Since every manufacturing company has different equipment, processes, and day-to-day challenges, some of the promises are difficult to evaluate. An investment in digital technology without a clear path to success is not strategic, and it is critical that you know what you are going to do with the data you collect before you start a project.
That said, no one questions that basing decisions on accurate and timely data—as opposed to best guesses or perceptions—is optimal in business. Actionable data leads to better decision-making and greater efficiency, ultimately increasing productivity and reducing costs.
Machine monitoring is a common entry point to data-driven manufacturing since operational data can be collected and analyzed from almost any kind of equipment, including legacy equipment, through sensors.
A digital sensor can provide metrics on machine availability, cycle times, production counts, program execution, and more, enabling manufacturers to see important production patterns. Most machine-monitoring applications today comes with customizable dashboards and reporting features, making it easy to visualize the data you need.
Workshop collects data on operational performance, part quality, equipment condition, and operator efficiency; puts it in context it; and prepares it for analysis. Real-time dashboards show shop floor operations and status of machines. More efficient operations tie directly to success.
Likewise, data can be collected on temperature, pressure, vibration levels, and other aspects of equipment function, providing information on degradation and warnings of impending failures. This area of data analysis enables more proactive, predictive maintenance and reduces unexpected downtime. Predictive maintenance is especially valuable in high-volume production environments.
In low volume, high-value precision manufacturing environments such as aerospace and markets, operations will not become more productive by measuring cycle time and utilization metrics in the same way as in a high-volume production environment.
Likewise, when manufacturing high-value products with long cycle times or with many manual steps, it is more strategic to focus on optimizing processes. In these environments, process efficiency is the goal, and if a problem in a process is detected early, it results in greater efficiency and cost savings.
In some manufacturing environments, the variability of each machine’s functionality makes it a harder process to measure and evaluate quantitatively. Machines are highly complex and multi-process, and they produce a huge variety, variance, and volatility of data, which is a challenge for analytics programs.
A huge number of rules must be customized given so many scenarios. Each process has its own set of analytics, and it is hard to measure the true productivity of a machine given this variability.
Another starting point in digitizing information can be making information and knowledge you already have more accessible by capturing and digitizing existing “shop knowledge.”
Through intelligent tagging of this unstructured information, you are creating digital documentation that is easily accessible by everyone in your manufacturing operation. A digital knowledge base of complex assembly processes or implementation of complex processes is a very valuable asset in many companies.
Even though any company can benefit from digitizing information and knowledge and making it accessible, machine monitoring is not the starting point for everyone. Many companies with complex manufacturing processes and high-value products can benefit from documenting processes and making these readily searchable and accessible on the plant floor.”
When you are evaluating whether to digitalize equipment, you may face more limited budget resources and therefore have more at stake if they make the wrong decisions. The cost of digitalizing goes beyond application tools and sensors and includes customization, communications infrastructure, and ongoing or in-house network support.
“Your best approach is to be strategic; make small, incremental changes, and wait for success from the first project before embarking on the next. It is better to think in terms of continuous improvement instead of a one-time transformation. Collect data on a problematic part or piece of equipment, and apply lessons learned from the first project to your next.”
If you have a limited budget, a cost-effective approach to getting started is to use open-source code to develop your own pilot applications. One such example is an open-source blockchain code that companies can use to build apps to easily automate their quality control documentation requirements, saving time and money.
Workshop has a core underlying goal of providing Digital tools for developers to make it easy to build and deploy blockchain systems. “With it, you can create a Digital ledger—an immutable historical record of assets, including machines and parts—that can all be backward-traceable.
Digital Innovation is a key element of future readiness. It is essential to preserving and expanding military competitive advantage in the face of near-peer competition and asymmetric threats.
A theme running through the National Defense Strategy—and subordinate strategies like the Artificial Intelligence Strategy—is that preserving and expanding our military advantage depends on our ability to deliver digital technology faster than our adversaries and the agility of our enterprise to adapt our way of fighting to the potential advantages of innovative technology.
The Department will evaluate opportunities for digital innovation, pursuing those deemed most suitable to address military problems and including those likely to deliver leap-ahead capabilities.
The global threat landscape is constantly evolving and remaining competitive and modernsing our digital environment for great power competition is imperative for the Department of Defense.
We must act now to secure our future.
This Digital Modernisation Strategy is the cornerstone for advancing our digital environment to afford the Joint Force a competitive advantage in the modern battlespace.
Our approach is simple. We will increase technological capabilities across the Department and strengthen overall adoption of enterprise systems to expand the competitive space in the digital arena.
The Digital Modernisation Strategy provides a roadmap to support implementation of the National Defense Strategy achieved through five strategic initiatives: innovation for advantage, process optimisation, resilient network security, and building talented command control and communication teams.
This approach will enable increased lethality for the Joint warfighter, empower new partnerships that will drive mission success, and implement new reforms enacted to improve capabilities across the digital enterprise.
The strategy also highlights two important elements that will create an enduring and outcome driven digital strategy. First, it articulates an enterprise view of the future where more common foundational technology is delivered across the DoD Components. Secondly, the strategy calls for a Management System that drives outcomes through a metric driven approach, tied to technology budgets and standards.
As we modernise our digital infrastructure across the Department, we must recognise now more than ever the importance of collaboration with our industry partners. The Services, and the Joint Warfighting community is expected to take the intent and guidance in this strategy and drive implementation to achieve results in support of our mission to Defend the Nation.
The future DoD digital environment will provide seamless, agile, resilient, transparent and secure infrastructure and services that advance DoD information superiority and simplify information sharing with mission partners. In accomplishing this, the future environment will leverage a number of innovative technologies that promise to provide increased effectiveness, efficiency, and security.
This management system will enable continual, comprehensive Department-wide digital modernization in a common, coordinated way. Furthermore, it will accelerate transition to foundational enterprise capabilities and services, freeing DoD Components to focus on their mission-unique capabilities and services.
Combined with policy and governance changes, it will shift the Department from an “opt-in” approach to enterprise services. Leveraging commonalities among DoD Component, the many overlapping and duplicative systems, programs, projects, services, capabilities, operations, and governance constructs in the Department will be more effectively linked, consolidated, and integrated.
Benefits of this shift will include:
1. Increase speed and reduced duplication of effort
2. Increase return on investment
3. Consistent, standardised enterprise architectures
4. Support faster fielding of new capabilities, interoperability, usability
5. Increase budget transparency for expenditures
6. Convergence of Component network infrastructure
7. Reduce complexity and cost
8. Eliminates fielding of unnecessary capabilities/services
9. Reducing program overhead
10. Enterprise acquisition/licensing