Industry 4.0 combines digital manufacturing with intelligent assets and the Industrial Internet of Things – IIoT. This means intelligent, interconnected assets such as machines, objects and products that communicate and optimize autonomously along the entire value chain are the main drivers of the digital revolution in the supply chain. Industry 4.0 will radically change production and alter the way humans will work with equipment. It offers higher autonomy and tailored information provided to workers from smart devices to support decisions.
Production as a creational and complex process involves many imponderables and unpredictabilities. Digital solutions that support production must therefore be agile and able to continuously improve and expand manufacturing processes. In an Industry 4.0 scenario, production design plays a central role, and it is critical to calibrate the interactions between the numerous components of different stakeholders, digital solutions and hardware components with attention. The use of appropriate information technologies regarding manufacturing planning, execution and analysis systems is an important building block in achieving the goal of tailor-made and order-specific production processes that meet the demands of agile manufacturing. This increases economic efficiency and thus strengthens competitiveness.
In the manufacturing environment SAP offers three different solutions: SAP Manufacturing Execution (SAP ME), SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) and the SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud (SAP DMC). All serving different purposes over different industries. With the SAP ME being the comprehensive on-premise manufacturing execution solution for the discrete industry and SAP MII representing an extensive integration solution and toolbox for all kinds of production scenarios, the DMC is the expression of SAP’s strategic focus of building an all-inclusive manufacturing solution within the cloud designed for process as well as discrete industry.
The management of assets is becoming ever more complex as supply chain execution is relying on progressively multifaceted technologies. With the introduction of increasing ambitious KPI goals calling for predictive rather than reactive maintenance, supervisors are forced to implement a corresponding IT and OT landscape which can execute sophisticated business processes while simultaneously integrating advanced IIoT scenarios. Organizations need to combine robust enterprise resource planning with advanced analytics tools to overcome the challenges of implementing a comprehensive asset health monitoring and to easily involve all relevant asset stakeholders in the most sensible place at the most sensible time. For this reason, SAP has developed various solutions ranging from the classic, continuously expanded asset management module within S4/HANA to the Intelligent Asset Management and Mobile solutions, covering the functionalities from basic to advanced maintenance planning, execution and analysis.
Industrial IoT applications already offer considerable added value as stand-alone solutions. Nevertheless, they only unfold their full potential when they are integrated into central supply chain solutions and a broad IT landscape. IoT solutions are not a substitute, but they add value to existing supply chain solutions, including planning, manufacturing, warehousing and transport processes.