Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology Blog
There’s no question the digital manufacturing revolution is racing at us. As a small or medium-sized manufacturer, how close are you to already being “smart”? Here are five steps in the journey to becoming a smarter digital enterprise.
First and foremost, be cybersecure. Cybersecurity is an underlying tenant of being a smart and trusted business partner. The more you rely on a digital platform for manufacturing, the more secure you’ll want to be for customers, suppliers and investors. The NIST MEP website has several cybersecurity resources for manufacturers to help on this quest.
Second, understand smart manufacturing. Two formal definitions come from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition(link is external). Essentially, it is the idea of integrating all your technology together for monitoring, management and improvement. An excellent blog post by Steven Brand of the California Manufacturing Technology Consultants (CMTC), the California MEP, goes into this in some detail as it relates to small and medium-sized manufacturers(link is external) and even offers a downloadable version of CMTC’s Guide to Smart Manufacturing.
Third, realize there’s likely to be “flow down” through any supply chain. Most large manufacturers and retailers, both in the U.S. and around the world, are investing in smart technologies, according to a recent report by the Capgemini Group and its subsidiary Sogeti, entitled Smart Factories: How can manufacturers realize the potential of the digital industrial revolution?(link is external)They found 76 percent of larger manufacturers have a smart manufacturing initiative, while 56 percent have invested $100 million or more in the last five years. As larger companies invest and deploy, smart manufacturing is likely to permeate the supply chain, like the way just-in-time, lean, and ISO 9000 requirements became a stated or de facto requirement.
Fourth, research the current state around you.
Fifth, take an inventory and benchmark your smart status.