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54 SMT Magazine • July 2015 the essentiAl Pioneer's survivAl Guide "automated" objection from the shop floor. For those who fully understand the nature of Industry 4.0, which is that automated commu- nication and decision-making happen between pieces of equipment supported by sophisticated software, this can represent a nightmare sce- nario. This may be a tough environment in which to introduce innovations, but this does not mean that Industry 4.0 is going to go away. One key reason is that the ideas and principles of Industry 4.0 have been a top-down initia- tive of the German federal government who were spe- cifically looking for ways to create the computerization of the manufacturing indus- try. They may perceive Indus- try 4.0 as a way to reduce the overhead of low-skill labor and to address the compe- tition of low-cost labor re- sources in other countries. The computerization brought by Industry 4.0 means creating automation with software, in a layer above independent processes run by machines' internal computers, to create connectivity. With indi - vidualized process automation comes inflexibil- ity because each automated process is dedicated to a particular product or product family. Instead of automating separate process operations, the computerization of Industry 4.0 automates deci- sions. Senior management and business leaders are attracted by this because they are decision- makers. Aspects of solutions that may be intan- gible to a factory engineer or manager can be quite tangible to people in higher levels of man- agement, where they view future potential, what can be created, changed, and optimized. The resource for management making de- cisions at this level is information. For many years, business intelligence has been working in the financial sectors, for sales forecasting and supply chain, creating information needed for business leaders to make critical decisions. To use this similar business intelligence in manu- facturing, the same kinds of tools need to be adopted. Thus we see the rapidly growing emer- gence of "big data" and the "Internet of things" concepts applied to manufacturing, with the sole purpose of gathering information for deci- sion making. The required databases need to be fast, efficient, detailed, and accurate, and they need to be driven by transactional data coming directly from manu- facturing. As we have seen over the past 12 months of this column, having a live information flow and management, the abil- ity to see and control what is happening on the shop floor, brings opportunity to execute changes faster without cost or risk. The classic Industry 4.0 example of the filling of soda cans in a factory that can rec- ognize each can by an RF-ID tag and automatically create the exact sodas required is an example of this flexibility in response to short-term "ran- dom" customer demand. The major issue and pain to busi- ness leaders in SMT is the in- ability to respond to increasingly changing demand, because they suffer the effects of depreciation in the value of finished goods stock. The increase in the num- ber of unique products and variants continues to rise, with more stock than ever before held in the distribution chain, often at a global level, in spite of significant effort having been made to reduce it. Business intelligence tools for manufac- turing data would allow managers to see how decisions can be made to reduce this business pain, and comes at exactly the right time. With numbers being crunched right now, business planners are beginning to realize in many cas- es that flexibility has huge value. For example, with factories close to the market, very small distribution chains can realize savings that of- ten exceed the cost differential of labor between countries such as Germany and China. This Business intelligence tools for manufacturing data would allow managers to see how decisions can be made to reduce this business pain, and comes at exactly the right time. With numbers being crunched right now, business planners are beginning to realize in many cases that flexibility has huge value. " " INDuSTRy 4.0: WHO BENEFITS? continues

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