SAP/Microsoft: supply chain & industry 4.0 in the cloud
In an announcement made by SAP And Microsft, the two organisations have expanded their partnership to enable customers to design and implement digital supply chain and industry 4.0 solutions in the cloud.
SAP identified in its announcement that research from the indicated “70% of IoT deployments by 2023 will include edge-based decision-making to support organisations’ operational and strategic agendas,” as well as by “2023, 70% of enterprises will run varying levels of data processing at the IoT edge. In tandem, organisations will spend over US$16bn on IoT edge infrastructure in that time.”
With this in mind, the partnership has been reported to include a collaborative approach to standards, consortia, and open source in order to shape the future of supply chain and manufacturing.
”SAP is excited to bring our proven and innovative solutions to Microsoft Azure for our manufacturing and digital supply chain customers. This partnership gives our customers the ability to subscribe to our digital supply chain and manufacturing solutions in the cloud and enhances our offerings for Industry 4.0. Building on this, SAP solutions will soon be available at the edge in factories, plants, and automated warehouses in close proximity to sensors, machines, and control systems,” commented Franz Hero, SAP Senior Vice President for Digital Supply Chain Solutions.
In addition has announced new tools, updates and services to make the lives of developers easier, regardless of skill level or job focus. Its new offerings include low-code/no-code tools, a free tier model for SAP Cloud Platform, exclusive free learning opportunities and updates to .
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.