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Re-invent manufacturing with the Cloud, in the Cloud

Blog: The Tibco Blog

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Typical innovation cycles have always shown that to revolutionize a sector, some of the traditional ways of doing things are unavoidably destroyed, usually through heavy disruptions or new technologies. The motto of “we always did it like this”, is blown away from a strong need to introduce change in order to survive. We need to un-invent to re-invent.

This is not different in the manufacturing industry. Just to refresh our minds, the First Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes: a shift from hand production methods to machines due to the increasing use of steam power and water power. A new technology made available to industries.

Over the last few decades with more technological improvements in robotics and automation, manufacturing has again seen a boost in productivity and efficiency. More automation introduced in waves has also led to creating many different systems and introduced multiple protocols to exchange data. 

Tech Improvements Have Led to Data Silos Requiring Data and Analytics to Solve

This increasing automation and use of robotics has created more siloed information, each dedicated to a specific business process or function. The necessary computing power is often centralized and running in on-premises data centers. Applications are a big monolith or organized in multiple smaller monoliths dedicated to supporting a specific function and mostly specialized for a single department. Every new additional implementation of the application consumes time and money due to the complexity introduced from years of layered development. And finally, the deployment in production must be carefully scheduled to avoid business interruption.

Smarter with Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation projects, manufacturers have started to apply data analytics on the huge amount of information generated by their machines. Manufacturing has become “smarter” with a better understanding of their processes and through the analysis of integrated data sources in their decision making. 

But what elements of the data-driven manufacturing era will need re-invention, and un-invention next?

What Should be Un-invented in Manufacturing Next? 

The most urgent un-invention areas are any processes and systems that have failed to move towards digital transformation. Recent world events have been disruptive for many manufactures and have shown the limits of not being agile enough to take advantage of changing scenarios. Further, it has also shown that manufacturing ecosystems are some of the least resilient and unsustainable to adapt among industries.

What truly is needed is to un-invent the inflexible monolithic application architecture to focus on more agile architectural patterns. This implies a shift to move towards modern architectures capable of integrating on-premises applications with newer cloud-based applications (hybrid cloud) and at the same time developing newer applications running entirely in the cloud. These types of modern cloud-native architectures open up to an entirely new world of possibilities allowing the re-invention of new agile business models so needed in the manufacturing industry.

With more and more SaaS providers offering innovative solutions, manufacturing can evolve and, instead of creating new capabilities on their own, it’s just a matter of “subscribing” to the various waves of innovation. This will enable manufacturers to offer new B2C and B2B services and take advantage of the so-called Manufacturing as a Service or Cloud Manufacturing.

What is needed is to un-invent the inflexible monolithic application architecture to focus on more agile architectural patterns—a move towards modern architectures capable of integrating on-premises applications with cloud-based applications.
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