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With Industry 4.0, the degree of digitalization, networking, and integration is increasing, and autonomous technologies are gaining in importance. As a result, decisions are being made more and more automatically. The same applies to defined goals and rules. This also raises the level of process efficiency.
The potential of Industry 4.0 developments is already clearly emerging in various business sectors: by equipping production facilities with IoT (Internet of Things) devices, data can be collected on a large scale, which can be linked using methods such as machine learning and which enable pattern recognition and prediction. This can then be used for predictive machine maintenance, which means that upcoming system malfunctions can be detected well before they occur. The additional value is function-preserving and in-time maintenance, which at best takes place without any interruption in production. Also in B2C markets, which are often subject to strong fluctuations, similar methods based on sales data in combination with marketing data can provide dynamic sales forecasts that influence and optimize production processes. Furthermore, these can even influence other company processes, such as make-or-buy decisions, deployment, or holiday planning.
Since IoT tools are typically not an integral part of an ERP system, it is important to efficiently provide the relevant data from the ERP system in one direction and to effectively integrate the collected data at the machines into the system processes in the other one. A high level of the digital readiness of the company as well as flexibility and adaptability of the system are crucial here. So in order to make data widely available for Industry 4.0 and also to be able to use it analytically, a system with a high degree of integration makes sense. In addition, big data tools and a powerful data infrastructure support the management and processing of large amounts of data. In order to make automatic decisions in a timely and reliable manner, reliable data quality, data security, and high performance are necessary.
The ERP provider is thus increasingly becoming a so-called business enabler for the customer. It supports companies on their way to a smart factory, provides innovative solutions for new requirements, and integrates them into existing systems. A flexible ERP suite therefore helps to ensure that processing procedures can be changed if necessary and can be adapted accordingly. This is made possible by consistently configurable check tables and dynamic code modules. Based on the data of the IoT component, higher batch sizes could be set, additional production orders could be created in production planning or processes could be minimized temporarily in the event of bottlenecks. In addition, when deviations from the rule occur, messages can be sent directly to the responsible person via email, for example, or even service orders can be initiated directly.
The integration potential across all company processes on a central database increases with the module scope of the ERP solution. Also, open interfaces and platform independence enable highly scalable basic modules to be connected with innovative components. With the goal of EPR applications to map business processes at the highest level with the best efficiency, Industry 4.0 technologies and their continuous increase in performance offer the best conditions for this. There is a strong focus on making automation robustly applicable in a dynamic environment.