Production Technology

Improving the technologies you already use

Use this section to find specific, practical ways of using technologies to transform your production.

Integrate your systems

For production to be efficient it has to engage with other processes. Stocks need to be managed, purchasing coordinated, sales anticipated and customers satisfied. Automating production is a critical step if you aim to participate in supply chains.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems link together purchasing, stock control, warehousing and other parts of your business process. They can handle production, distribution, accounting and stocks – all in real time. Managers can oversee production-related information flows in a coordinated way.

Expert systems generally need to be custom-built for your business. For production, expert systems use historical and real-time manufacturing data to predict product quality. Process conditions, allow ‘what if’ analysis and optimise operations.

Collaborative production

Collaborative Product Commerce (CPC)

Online collaboration software and services allow people from any point along the supply chain to participate in how products are put together, from concept to build. Direct customer feedback is also part of this process.

Design-to-order can be as simple as tweaking an existing product for a customer. On a larger scale it can mean letting customers order one-off products that are specifically designed for them.

Direct feedback from customers often drives new product ideas. To make better use of this feedback you need to integrate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems and data with engineering, research and development.

Remote applications

Wireless applications are basically devices that can communicate with each other without being physically connected. Short-range protocols like Bluetooth – which allow short-range radio links between mobile PCs, mobile phones and other portable devices – are being used to integrate production into the business and as a way to promote collaborative working. But access to high-speed, long-range wireless services is still patchy.

Telemetrics is still at an early stage of development. At a basic level, the technology can tell a snack vendor when its machines need restocking. But remote sensing technology has many other applications, like doing dangerous or difficult tasks in remote locations and on the production floor.

By using wireless, internet-enabled communications you can set up communication between a device and your network at pre-configured times. The basic technology is straightforward and can improve production.

  • Greater accuracy as calibration can be constantly corrected.
  • Improved production times due to reduced downtime.
  • Greater flexibility in production times and volumes.

Some tool manufacturing companies are already using this technology to monitor their machines remotely – helping customers avoid costly service calls.

For further information on growing your business by improving your production process see our articles on using innovation and Production Technology business advice © Crown Copyright 2003-2013

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