The motivation for striving for the realization of the "Industry 4.0" or "Smart Factory" is clear: Highest efficiency with maximum flexibility. "Lot size 1" at the cost of series production! Industry associations, research institutes and consulting firms are forecasting additional value creation potential in the high double-digit billion range within the next 10 years, massive rationalization effects through the automation of knowledge work and a dramatically increasing "collaboration productivity".
However, if one compares this vision of Industry 4.0 with the current situation in most manufacturing companies, it becomes clear that the majority are still more or less intensively occupied with the challenges of "conventional" digitization.
In this respect, most companies will certainly have a long way to go in the direction of Industry 4.0, a way that will bring with it serious changes with regard to business processes, the IT tools used, the way they work with these tools, but also with each other.
Industry 4.0 in the Software Domains
To this day, experts are still not in complete agreement about which software domain should take the lead in realizing the Industry 4.0 vision.
Manufacturing Execution Systems | Advanced Planning & Scheduling
Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are often referred to as the enabler of Digital Transformation, as they have always been the link between commercial enterprise software (especially ERP software) and the execution level of the production process.
Integrated ERP Software | Production Planning and Control (PPC)
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, traditionally the supreme guardians of all master and transaction data, are predestined for the role of an information hub that collects, prepares and sensibly distributes all extended enterprise data.
Product Lifecycle Management | Product Data Management | Product Lifecycle
The role of the "Single Source of Truth" is also claimed by Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems, which not only cover the value-added chain of a company (network), but also the customer behavior and the utilization phase up to the disposal of the product.
Cross-cutting task of data management
Master data are the foundation of the digital economy and data are strategic resources that must be managed. In the context of Industry 4.0, the success of a company depends on how well it can handle information and how well it is able to use this information as a basis for making the right decisions, as well as the degree of automation that can be achieved.