The adoption of geo-location enabled mobile devices and machine-to-machine technologies is set to increase as manufacturers look to improve productivity within their factories and supply chains, according to IDC Manufacturing Insights.
In an interview with Computerworld Singapore, Dr Chris Holmes, Head - International, IDC Manufacturing Insights, talked about the 2013 product and services roadmap, industry developments and customer demands from vendors that are operating in the manufacturing vertical.
1) What are the areas in terms of products and services that the vendors will focus on in 2013?
We expect the deployment of connected operations to expand beyond the factory, with the growing adoption of geo-location-enabled smartphones and tablets among onsite and offsite workers.
We also forecast an increase in machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies adoption on the shop floor for remote sensing and monitoring of shop floor process as well as equipment to create a connected operations environment within the factory.
With the tracking of location information, mobile applications can be made context-aware for efficient task assignment and scheduling based on proximity to point of action. There will be development of niche applications within the manufacturing environment. This will support greater fidelity in distribution channels and logistics management.
Together with the deployment of M2M technologies, manufacturers can enable process automation for productivity and efficiency gains as well as improved supply chain track and trace visibility.
2) What are the key differences this year compared to what vendors offered in 2012?
We do expect vendors to focus on promoting technology that will support the creation of "value" to the enterprise, rather than focus on IT cost savings.
Vendors need to be able to support IT departments in talking to line of business by articulating how technology will add value to the business, e.g. decrease manufacturing lead times, improve productivity, faster new product development, etc.
The shift to automation on the shop floor, the greater use of predictive analytics, and the application of mobility all focus the drive to faster and better decision making in an even more productive environment.
3) So what are the driving factors for them?
The focus on driving costs down, faster time to market, and greater complexity in doing business all mean that companies need to really leverage technology so that they would be able to manage complexities.
We also expect the vendors to become ever more niche in identifying which sector of manufacturing they are selling to, and by doing so, fine-tune their products and services to that particular sector. For example, we see the focus on faster product development in engineering value chains (automotive, aerospace, industrial equipment, etc) type organisations, where as for brand-oriented value chains (consumer products) the focus will be on optimising supply chains and improving the understanding and connectivity with the end customer.
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