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May 30, 2018

Top 5 ERP News and Articles: 28-May-2018

Today the focus is on Industry 4.0 (I40). The articles below talk about how the top ERP vendors (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and Epicor) plan to augment their applications to support Industry 4.0. The information in this post is curated from publicly available information, press releases and company websites. 

1. Oracle unveils IoT Cloud  for Industry 4.0 offerings: Oracle has released the IoT on Cloud as a part of its Cloud offerings to specifically support I40. The augmented reality, machine vision, Digital Twin and Automated Data Science capabilities can enhance production, logistics, warehousing and maintenance. The Production Monitoring Cloud offers I4.0 features capabilities like Digital Twin, Predictive Analytics etc enables the organization to have a real time view of its manufacturing shop floor.
In addition to real-time visibility through configurable KPIs, the application offers benefits including early diagnosis of potential problems, compare and benchmark best performers for continuous improvement, predictive and prescriptive analytics and improve operational efficiency. The link mentioned above also hosts a slick video of the IoT cloud as applied to a complex manufacturing operation...
Oracle IoT Applications support three important functions: device registration and data collection; signal analysis and interpretation; and connection to specific business processes. By applying advanced, predictive analytics to the device signals, Oracle IoT Applications calculate complex business-specific KPIs and trigger automated actions in real time.
Not sure if it is standalone or is integrated with the Fusion Cloud Offerings....

2. SAP Tutorials on IoT: While looking around for details on Industry 4.0 solutions from SAP, I came across this free tutorial set on Internet of Things (IOT) including on Industry 4.0. There are six topics covered in this training. IoT 1&2,  IOT and IPV6, Future and market potential of IoT, Industry 4.0 and Internet of services. You can check it out. It gives an overview.

The diagram below shows SAP's product offerings on IOT

3. Microsoft: Microsoft Industry 4.0 will be mainly based on four main or key pillars. They are Machine-to-machine communication, decentralized decision making, advanced analytics and enriched digital twins populated with sensor data from the plant or field. Azure IoT Edge allows the sensors, equipment, and vendor software of these factories to collect data securely and process it in real time with an advanced ML algorithm. Azure IoT Hub enables device provisioning, device twins, and routing which will lead to process and visualize data received from all the machines. They are aiming at creating a platform that enables real-time data ingestion from factory machines, local data processing with low latency and comprehensive visualization for smarter factory monitoring.

4. Epicor: I am still working on this. Will update this blog with updated information. 

5. Four examples of the benefits that can be derived from ERP: ERP Focus: I have seen this in many ERP implementations. The organization (this happens especially with SMEs) spends a lot of money to implement ERP and in the end either of the two things happen. One, the best case scenario, they get a simple data entry application, or two, worst and common case, their business processes get constrained and slowed down by the ERP system. Sales go down, Inventory gets clogged in the warehouses, Distribution sync up is lost....
In all these, we forget that a smartly designed ERP system can add significant benefits to the Organization. I have myself experienced this (though I must acknowledge that many of my ERP implementations fall into the first scenario above). In this article, writer Tom Miller sites 4 cases where ERP benefited and improved the Organizational Processes. Each of these cases belong to different industries, distribution, construction, manufacturing and transportation. Each of them (might have) involved minimal customizations. For example, one of the cases, on distribution, talks about how the vehicle details are scanned at the gate and fed into the ERP system. The system then verifies the details with the ASN (Advanced Shipment Notice) and directs the driver (through SMS, I imagine) to the correct dock for unloading....
Do read on....

This is a very high level and quick summary of the approaches followed by leading ERP Vendors. The common thread in all these is the integration with IIOT and Advanced Analytics on the Cloud. Integration with machine sensors is the key. The winner in this tussle will be the one's that can offer low cost SAAS offering and which can integrate with both old and new Sensor standards and technology. 


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