Manufacturers have been on an unstoppable quest to link the shop floor with the top floor, and they’re finding the solution in IoT technology.

I watched how factories can easily make special orders an everyday thing in this exclusive video interview with Jochen Rundholz, Demo Solutions Expert at SAP TechEd Barcelona. His demo consisted of a small-scale “factory” powering red, white and blue colored bearings that journeyed across the production line on command from crane selection in the warehouse to oven firing, polishing, sorting and final assembly into hand spinners.

Go as Small or Big as You Want

The idea behind the demo was to show how manufacturers can meet seemingly unquenchable customer appetite for orders tailored to their unique needs – without sacrificing speed or cost-savings. It was built on the SAP S/4HANA Cloud and used SAP Manufacturing Execution and SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence solutions running on SAP Cloud Platform.

“Manufacturers have the granular control to produce customer-specific orders one after another in any size batch,” said Rundholz. “Customers receive the orders they want without having to pay a premium in cost or wait time, and manufacturers no longer have to store large batches in warehouses waiting for buyers.”

#IoT means manufacturers can personalize orders without sacrificing speed or cost-savings

The brightly-colored dashboard captured every move of each bearing’s production process, beginning with factory availability at the outset of the order through the temperature of the oven. This provided manufacturers with that all-important shop floor to top floor control and transparency,

“IT and operational technology [OT] have historically been disconnected,” he said. “With all the possibilities IoT offers, companies can finally integrate and connect the IT and OT worlds, getting machinery data into the IT system. With SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we can create or obtain a production order, which in this case, is the color of the bearing. It’s replicated in the SAP software that triggers the manufacturing process, and captures each stage of production on an easy-to-read dashboard.”

Making special orders an everyday, simple occurrence recognizes that business customers are just like consumers. Companies want the products they want, when they want them. Using IoT, factories can finally deliver on the promise of personalized manufacturing.

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