Manufacturers should never ignore the value of the product information they hold, but knowing when to invest in new technologies that helps them utilise that data to give a competitive edge is a major decision.
It’s the classic chicken and egg scenario. Introduce new systems and software but struggle to use the information produced. Or, engage talented people to interpret data but miss out on the technology that enables them to deliver even greater results – and improved efficiencies and profits.
So, where to start… do you choose one route, neither, or something in the middle?
This has happened for decades.
Larger organisations have monitored the introduction of innovative manufacturing techniques and data gathering techniques but held off committing resources.
When they have taken the plunge, the next generation of solutions is already creeping into the market.
Others have dabbled and attempted a compromise. They have introduced new systems and personnel without developing an overall strategy to map out and identify what, why, how and when the investment will benefit the organisation.
At the other end of the scale, smaller businesses, innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs have launched themselves and their companies headlong into the future – but with substantial set-up costs.
Their ideas might be visionary, but the weight of expectation has often consumed them. They have rushed in too soon!
Striking the investment balance
Knowing when to invest and when to adapt or remove older information storage systems is often the issue. There can be a period of transition, where it is necessary to get other elements of an organisation’s infrastructure up to speed.
Where that involves substantial investment it’s an immediate barrier. There is a temptation to plod on, to keep spending on labour-intensive methods that then detract from the original objectives of shifting to more digital and automated solutions.
For users of data, there are a number of steps that must be taken. The core machines that generate manufacturing data are often already in place. They might need some additional hardware, devices that capture physical information, but that can usually happen without too much expense.
However, the stumbling block will often be how to transmit, store and process the increased volumes of information.
Not having fast internet connections or wireless data points can hold many organisations back. Collecting and distributing information will mean manual input, copying files, and maybe re-entering data. That all takes time and can result in errors.
Ultimately, delaying access to and the ability to use valuable insights will hamper research, product development, aftersales and potentially dent profits.
The end goal is giving customers and other users of product information easy and quick access to data that enables decisions to be made. That could mean buying decisions, or making changes to the supply chain or production processes.
Getting the balance right, not over-committing to certain stages of the transformation process, and gauging what level of investment is right for a given organisation is a tough decision for any managing director.
A data management partner
Organisations must understand what they want to achieve and then develop a structured plan that will deliver those goals.
Making the right decisions about digitisation is a complex process. Taking the next steps into relatively unknown territory can be daunting.
Epitomy Solutions has supported numerous clients that had reached an investment impasse. They were ready to take action but needed support.
Being able to visualise and forecast the benefits of improved information distribution is tricky. It’s not an exact science.
Having the right partner to advise, implement and support any transition to a more digital solution can remove many of the obstacles that would otherwise hinder progress.
Production information management (PIM) pulls different aspects of an organisation’s product evolution together. One consistent set of data, automatically updated from defined sources, enables users across the product life cycle to draw up-to-date information when they need it.
With proven software solutions already developed and tested, and backed by cloud-based storage, Epitomy Solutions can help to bridge the skills and investment gaps that hold many SMEs back.
To see the benefits of PIM in action, call us to book a demo that showcases the latest product information solutions.
Call 0114 258 0404 or email email@example.com for further information.