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Infosys at Sapphire 2014: 'Enterprise now' for the smart manufacturer

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Rapid Urbanization and information empowered customers are driving modernization and innovation in the manufacturing space. Increased customization, shorter product lifecycles have led to the evolution of high performance supply chains, though this raises challenges exposing them to diverse risks and disruptions at various stages of the value chain. Besides, increased regulatory pressures and cut throat competition in a globalized economy means supply chains also need be to cost efficient and transparent for manufacturers to survive. Technology today is playing a key role in enabling supply chain modernization to meet above challenges. But, Modernization is not just about responding to change but also leading change and technology is also playing that part to a "T". The rise of the digital consumer with proliferation of web and ability to process Big Data has ensured that manufacturers can ignore technology trends like advanced analytics, real time data processing, social media, cloud, mobility and machine to machine communication (Internet of Things) at their own peril. Having said that companies need to evaluate and manage technology by striking a fine balance between business value and disruption.  This is where you would need a smart integrator like Infosys with a proven track record in enterprise solutions and disruptive technologies, who can help you transition and transform your business processes to get on that path.

 SAP is the leader in Enterprise Business application software and this year's Sapphire is all about the manufacturers' journey from Industrialization, followed with Modernization and finally powered with Digitization. While we all are eager to actively contribute and listen from market leaders in the event, we briefly elaborate below some of the advanced solutions areas in SAP where we have invested and made rapid strides to enable manufacturers in their "smart" journey.



• Smarter supply chain: The manufacturer's supply chain should have the agility to react to market demands and risks from across the globe  through real time information visibility and analytics. The information rendering should be intuitive through use of advanced UI to help managers take informed decisions. 
• Connected vehicles technology: Automobiles, in a matter of time, would evolve as an extension of the owner's lifestyle. Digitization and cloud are the forces that make connected vehicle technology a reality. Cloud would be the platform in which vehicles get connected while digitization will help enhance user experience and leverage the information derived from the connected vehicle.
• Asset utilization and optimization: This is a critical success factor for industrial equipment manufacturers in particular. To reduce the cost of servicing their equipment they would use predictive analytics for proactive maintenance. This will, in turn, help reduce downtime of equipment, which could otherwise impact the entire production process.
• Social integrated business planning: Capabilities of integrated business planning can be further enhanced through independent demand sensing from social data. This would lead to better forecast accuracy, quicker understanding of changing market trends and reduced inventory.
•  BI on the go: Technology trends such as big data, analytics, and M2M communication utilize the vast amounts of data available in the organization to render meaningful insights that help CIOs and business leaders in better decision making.

All the above will help address manufacturing risks involved in supply chain, forecasting, and just-in-time production apart from being revenue drivers. These technologies, trends and concepts, coupled with social media, can be leveraged to provide outstanding services to the customer, making it a USP for the manufacturer.


What's ahead?

New buzz words are flooding the market each day; do manufacturers jump the bandwagon for all to stay ahead of competition? Do they focus more on their core competencies or new technologies?  While the future looks exciting, these key questions worry manufacturers as the decisions can be "make" or "break" considering the quantum change needed to adopt these new technologies. One of the key decisions which companies need to make is to identify a "strategic" technology partner who can help defining a phased roadmap for adoption which would minimize risk of disruption and maximize competiveness. Low hanging fruits which are stable yet value adding like Analytics, Mobility could be adopted in near future,  while companies could go for  a " Co - creation" model to test the waters on technologies which are yet to mature but have great potential . This way manufacturers can share the disruption risk and cost with their technology partner, focus on core competencies and still be ahead of competition.

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