As fast as retailers can come up with new ways to produce, package and promote products, consumer tastes continue to change. In the same way as new manufacturing technologies evolve that make shorter production runs more feasible, processes more efficient and supply chains more visible, product development continues to stretch machine builders, manufacturers and their machines.
Producing a small number of products on long-sustained production runs isn't sustainable or desirable any more. Businesses are producing more products in more varieties – for changing health, taste, image and cost preferences – in a greater range of packaging options.
To meet these demands, businesses need to be agile and able to quickly react to market changes. New product introductions can require several plants across a country to quickly produce them in a greater variety of packaging, such as different sizes or with region- or season-specific packaging variations.
Facing intense price sensitivity, production has to be as efficient as possible, downtime reduced to a minimum, time-to-market cut and raw materials wastage minimalised. Getting products coming off the line right the first time becomes key in increasing production efficiency and keeping costs down, not just of the products themselves, but of the raw materials, electricity and man-hours required to produce them.
Companies must build flexibility into the machines they use and have access to real-time data that enables them to make better business decisions. This is critical to being able to make the right product, using the right materials and employing the right processes across the entire production line – while also allowing for a seamless transition from one product to the next.
Information and seamless integration have become key to improved machine performance, efficiency and capabilities. Equipment needs to be easily integrated into the plant infrastructure and deliver a range of real-time performance and operating data. With accurate performance metrics, such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) in place, plant managers can identify problems and establish proactive strategies for driving improvements across the entire manufacturing process.
Only an end-to-end solution – offering a truly integrated approach – has the capability to meet the challenges facing manufacturers in today's global markets. Download our pdf on Rapid Line Integration to discover more.