Digitization of ERP in 2021: The merger of ERP with Disruptive Technologies – Part 2


Machine Learning for Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Let’s face it, downtimes are expensive, especially which are uninvited. Any unpredictable failure of an individual section of a production line can throw the overall production out of action that could last for several days. Embedding machine learning, enterprises can significantly improve the accuracy of predictive insights. Besides, also plan maintenance activities before any breakdown can even occur.   

A Machine Learning-enabled ERP system can assist service technicians in root cause analysis for predictive maintenance issues. With an early indication about potential hazards, maintenance teams can take timely measures to avert any breakdowns. What’s more, technology can considerably improve Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) performance with greater predictive accuracy, to surge revenue streams. 

Smart manufacturing organizations that rely on ERP systems powered with machine learning capabilities improve their overall equipment effectivities and optimize utility infrastructure inevitably lowering material consumption.  

Internet of Things and Smart Packaging

Finished product transit safety and its shelf life affect how the stakeholders interact with the brand. No one would want to suffer losses on the stock. The solution lies in smart packaging which encapsulates diverse packaging technologies that extend shelf life, product quality, display information for retailers, distributors and consumers, and enable shoppers to connect with the company. 

Intelligent packaging is driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) that connects devices (like sensors, mobile phones and wearable devices to each other) via the internet for improved distribution safety. RFID tags are available for as little as 10p, which means they present an exciting opportunity to be used more widely than ever before.  

At present, RFID tags find their application on products from the healthcare and the pharmaceutical domain, where any manufacturing or distribution errors may be life fatal.  

Blockchain and Supply Chain Efficiencies

The modern supply chains can be very complex. Concerns arise when the end-user wants to authenticate the origins of the source of production. Blockchain technology can help identify which parties are involved in the entire product lifecycle beginning from the raw material to the finished product. Blocks or distributed ledgers ensure transparency and information sanctity, where the blockchain owner has the choice to give either restricted access or complete access to the parties of the blockchain. 

Companies that rely on ERP systems benefit from blockchain integration to keep their inventories in check, track supply chain, manage their finances, and perform data critical transactions without having to worry about security or cyberattacks. Moreover, the capabilities of blockchain ledgers to hold and store information blocks may become a transparent, secure and reliable way for businesses to move forward. These records may encapsulate viable business data like invoices, supply chain traceability, accounting entries and so on. Businesses are increasingly trusting to add a security layer to their operations and create a more transparent and seamless experience. Blockchain is the favorite among the banking industry too, with over 90% of banks from North America and Europe investing in this exciting technology.

Cognitive Robotics and Order Fulfilment Process 

Modern age robotics combine the functionality of both Cognitive and Process Automation to automate routine and nonroutine tasks. In this process, Cobots (Intelligent robots that work alongside humans) have become critical to the fulfilment process, so-as-to supplement human capabilities to finish the workflows faster. In a study by the Harvard Business Review found robotics reduced the order fulfilment time by 83% decreasing the time taken from 90 minutes to 15 minutes, simultaneously reducing inventory spoilage by a whopping 50 per cent.

An ERP software solution tracks the different stages of the production processes. For instance, recording when a welder finishes the job and updates the progress in the ERP. Based on the capabilities, Cobots can be incorporated to augment the workflow. They weld faster without any sacrifices to the quality of the job. This saves valuable resource time and operational costs. Furthermore, cobots redeploy human efforts to more qualitative work rather than doing the mundane and stressful dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks. This is the reason why they are so popular in the manufacturing facilities around the world.

Collaborative robots resemble miniature articulated workforce. At 3 to 4 feet in length, they are agile, lightweight, and customizable to suit an array of tasks. They can be mounted to mobile platforms, to make inventory management an easier operations task. These AI-powered robots can complete non-stop inventory audits, suggest efficiency improvements based on the data flow from the sensors into the ERP systems. Businesses can thereby strategize planning and scheduling activities to achieve greater efficiencies. 

Although this might seem like robots might replace human labour someday, however, this is not true. Cognitive robots are programmed to undertake tasks alongside humans helping and learning from them, rather than replacing them.  

Summing up

The dynamic requirements of the modern enterprise backed by the growing competition calls for iERP or intelligent ERP. Intelligent ERP aims to bridge the gap between the existing technology and the challenges that businesses face. iERP becomes very powerful when integrated with other advanced tools like digital transformative technologies and AI. The implementation of technology into ERP can simplify critical business functions bringing unmatched benefits to the enterprise. 

Advanced Analytics lets AI to collaborate with massive data sources to enable real-time data insights for business intelligence. For example, AI can analyze the customer buying behavior across segments, to help businesses tailor their offerings to match the audience requirements. 

Artificial intelligence can test forecasting models with precision, incorporating different types of variables like demand changes, supply chain disruptions and new product/service innovations. For instance, a multinational luxury vehicle conglomerate uses machine learning algorithms to track an item from the manufacturing stage until sold, monitoring over thirty assembly lines spanning different countries. 

AI can spearhead Financial Automation initiatives by automating quarterly and monthly processes and closing operations. Cognitive bots (powered by AI) can automatically verify multiple reports for accuracy and simultaneously compare account balances between dissipate systems. For example, OCR and Intelligent RPA can scrap invoice data from different platforms and discern them into an inventory (phone) purchase or a monthly phone bill. 

Minimized wastage is among one of the greatest advantages offered by the modern technology. When AI integrates with an ERP system, it can detect inefficient processes and suggest a comprehensive solution that will solve the twin objectives of cost cuts and operation efficiencies. Besides, it also can identify workflows that take up too many resources. 

This lets predictive algorithm models minimize resource wastage. 

ERP remains as one of the most prevalent solutions that augment productivity and increases workforce efficiency. Businesses need to strategize and make the most of technology enablement to unlock the true potential it holds. This can certainly help them implement a complete digital transformation for good and be future-ready for new challenges and equally rewarding opportunities.

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