ERP and CAD/CAM solutions are finding large-scale acceptance among Indian companies
Technology is designed to solve challenges. In manufacturing, it becomes even more essential considering the complex processes of the industry. According to a research, firms resisting adoption of software-based techniques are being outperformed by their peers. As a result, it was observed that there exists an R&D productivity gap in the traditional manufacturing sector where highly software-intensive firms produce more patents for each rupee invested in R&D than less software-intensive firms. This is more pertinent in discrete manufacturing.
What matters most in discrete manufacturing is managing the supply chain. One needs to orchestrate the flow of parts and components around the world with fine-tuned precision, and make smart choices that keep costs low and delivery smooth. This needs the right kind of ERP and CAD/CAM that can enable manufacturers to create smooth workflows. Vendors aid in simplifying operational complexity, reduce errors and speed time-to-market by aligning and connecting product development, supply chain, factory and logistics operations with a unified business software platform that are specifically aligned to the needs of discrete manufacturers.
In the market today, numerous kinds of software in terms of ERP and CAD/CAM are available. Dhirendra Kulkarni, technical sales director, PTC India, says, "For discrete manufacturing, PTC offers CAD and PLM solution suites for product development and service requirements. Creo is our CAD platform and Windchill is our PLM platform. For the business initiatives of discrete manufacturing companies for smart connected manufacturing and smart connected products, we offer a host of solutions under our IoT platform, Thingworx and Augmented Reality platform, Vuforia."
Considering that discrete manufacturing involves a product that one can touch and feel, vendors are ensuring that its solutions are aligned to discrete manufacturing. Explaining how the company has created products for discrete manufacturing, Pankaj Gauba, head, digital manufacturing, Autodesk India, says, "We have solutions under Make portfolio and it caters to the workflows in discrete manufacturing, right from design to simulation to manufacturing. We have been focusing on these solutions and to strengthen them we have successfully built a portfolio of products through successful acquisitions like Moldflow, Delcam, & Netfabb, which is making us stronger in the discrete manufacturing segment."
Discrete manufacturing is not an easy environment to control. With global competitors pushing the cost of goods lower, fluctuating economies, and rates of inflation, finding ways to juggle the challenges in the industry is exhausting. PM Ravikumar, senior director, Dassault Systèmes, SOLIDWORKS, India, says, "Manufacturing as a process has sub-assembly which then gets into the main assembly and it is the reason why CAD products are aligned to meet these demands. Our core product SOLIDWORKS can help companies simulate products or design, which then boils down to data management. Simulation helps a company reduce the number of prototypes they need to create. Similarly, data security is critical and that is where we step in with our nterprise data management system."
Customers are clear that they want their systems to be intelligently connected and an ability to tailor products to individual requirements at commodity-level pricing. This shift requires manufacturers to be flexible across their global operations network and be driven by real-time performance data from both their operations and their in-service products.
The system has its methods
According to Allied Market Research, the global ERP software market will surpass a value of $41 billion by 2020. At the same time, IDC is predicting that in the similar time frame, global IoT spend will total nearly US$1.4 trillion as organisations continue to invest in the hardware, software, services and connectivity required to enable IoT. Pradeep Agarwal, senior director, ERP Cloud at Oracle, says, "The overlapping of ERP and IoT seems inevitable. Data from IoT will further enhance ERP systems’ efficiency. Insights from AI and machine learning will further strengthen the ERP systems. This culmination will enable business leaders to take better decisions based on data driven insights. For example, sensors can communicate details about lack of or excess of inventory, allowing supervisors to better manage ordering and replenishment while minimising the possibility of human error."
Kulkarni adds that PTC’s vision and mission has always been to provide best-in-class art to part solutions to customers and give them the advantage of the technology advancements. "We help customers for Additive Manufacturing with Creo solutions for 3D printing and lattice structure design and optimisation. For Industry 4.0, our PLM (Windchill), IoT (Thingworx) and AR (Vuforia) solution platforms have been giving a competitive advantage to these customers. With recent acquisition of Frustum, we are weaving artificial intelligence in to our Creo platform which will help the discrete manufacturing companies in the concept and detailed design stage."
Giving an insight into how the company works for advanced design, Gauba says that Autodesk generative design is provided as a key feature in Fusion 360 software which has been a huge focus for the company. "It's Cloud based and makes collaboration easy. The product has been built keeping in mind how technologies are evolving, and along with it customer needs. Key to Industry 4.0 is IoT and Fusion 360 makes it easy for users to access data on the go. The modular platform has a design, simulation, and manufacturing component and helps us to serve the industry as its evolving."
ERP and CAD/CAM companies are known to regularly come up with updates. They are required to. Ravikumar says, "We need to bring in additional functionalities to the products. Most times, there will be teething problems. This is challenging when it comes to SMEs. When we provide the software for the first time, there is a subscription built into the product. But when it comes to renewal, it becomes a challenge and this is not unique to India alone, but also globally. Worldwide, we have a renewal rate of around 90%. In India, the number is around 68% that has improved over the last 4-5 years; earlier we were at 45%. Customers are more accepting and looking at the value added by the reseller. In order to push this, we segregated our post sales team into two groups: One to focus on installations and trainings, and the second is checking on aiding the customers in using the software to its full capability."
An Aberdeen Group survey has come out with inputs from global discrete manufacturing companies:
*40% say products are becoming complex
*56% have the need to launch products quickly
*47% say that data can offer competitive advantage.
This survey shows that majority of the companies are eager to adopt advancements in software to address needs and challenges. They have the need for digital transformation, Industry 4.0 ready, and leverage the advantage of physical and digital convergence with best in class IoT and AR solutions.