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Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of the I-Connect007 eBook The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Advanced Manufacturing in the Digital Age, written by Oren Manor of Siemens, a Siemens Business.
The Cornerstone of Smart Manufacturing: The Convergence of IT and OT
The foundation on which data management and the resulting analysis needs to be built is information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). For Industrial 4.0 to be turned into a reality, an alliance of IT and OT has to happen. Smart manufacturing cannot exist without this cornerstone.
Few business functions are hit harder by digital transformation than IT and OT. Traditionally, these departments have operated in isolation from each other, but for digital transformation in the factory to occur, they have to align. People can resist this kind of fundamental change to the way they do their jobs, but if IT and OT employees can see how their departments benefit from aligning their processes, everyone in the company can move forward. Manufacturers can start embracing Industry 4.0.
A factory is like a living organism with many different parts to it; materials, machines, and the people and the systems that they use to do their jobs. If IT and OT were sharing real-time data to make better business decisions, predict customer trends, and remain ahead of the competition, this would result in improved manufacturing processes, which leads to higher production performance and lower costs (Figure 2.1).
Strong leadership from key stakeholders in the company can ensure that both IT and OT collaborate, providing them with best practices and tools to use can help the company make better products. Enterprises often underestimate the complexity of this convergence. Priorities for what the company stands for and what it wants to achieve has to come from leadership. It is the duty of top-level leadership to adapt and bring about this paradigm shift to create an atmosphere of total collaboration between IT and OT. With senior-level buy-in and commitment to adoption, the two departments can be empowered to pull in the same direction with the right technology and access to the data they need. If this cannot be done, the company will not survive the digital transformation.
IT has often been seen by enterprises as a cost center, and they are not involved in the day-to-day operation or long-term organizational plans. Their role has been limited to a reactionary role responding to company needs as they arise. This is not going to work in today’s market because business needs require a proactive team that can anticipate needs and is ready before the need is imminent.
To download the free eBook The Printed Circuit Assembler's Guide to... Advanced Manufacturing in the Digital Age, written by Oren Manor of Mentor, a Siemens Business, click here.
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