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Data Flow and Industry 4.0

Original version in Czech language, page 12: (Download PDF)

Digitization, together with effective tools for obtaining and handling of data in the most effective way, is becoming more and more important in manufacturing companies in the context of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution (also called “Industry 4.0). The data and material flow should ideally be synchronized, which is the desired but often unachievable objective.
One of the main requirements of today’s time is digitization, e.g. the creation of a digital image of the physical flow of material, goods and returnable packaging. This is the only way to ensure traceability not only in the production company but throughout the entire supply chain, notes Milan Ludvík, country manager of ZETES Czech Republic. “This requires efficient data collection, an efficient Human-Machine Interface, effective storage of huge amounts of data, and effective and safe cross-supply sharing”, he explains.
A complex process
The interconnected supply flow allows to optimize the entire cycle of products, including production time, packaging, identification, shipping times, storage times and consumption speeds. Venuse Dolejsova, the Supply Chain and Kanban professional in the company manufactus GmbH, describes: “Individual moves are electronically recorded and the supplier and customer servers are automatically integrated into standard records of ERP. All transactions are performed as physical material movement done by operators or warehouse clerk. The office support is there to control flows and eventually to manage non-standard situations.” The same expectations are manufacturing trends of increasing requirements for dynamic visualization of the entire production cycle.
Essential is the efficient usage of data flow for production, logistics and other processes including quality control. Data collection itself is a tool for gathering information about the physical flow of material and about events for efficient, fast and qualified decision making. “The main problem is the managerial overview of “gross data” and the introduction of effective tools to convert this data into information for individual types of employees, who need different and often contradictory information types.”
Promote the values
At those days are standardly preferred robust enterprise systems. Each provider of such a solution wants to offer everything for everyone, says Venuse Dolejsova. “We are hardly forced to work with a complex of usual modules combined together. Each of these modules requires some specific data that needs to be kept up to date. Revealing of the relations of the settings and knowing their influences to each other is a very complex task.”
An important moment is the realization, that all the data recorded in the business systems are basically historical values with future assumptions. They do not present the real situation that exists in a competitive global market or reflects current expectations or needs of end customers. “If we can define what information brings the value to our future growth and competitiveness, we can optimize our resources to get the best support by using these key data”, adds Venuse Dolejsova.
“Online, Sustainable and Fair”
We will see more frequently standardizations, material series, sharing components and resources that will be available all the time by online driven processes. All global trends are trying to optimize own resources, to speed-up ourselves flexibility and availability of own products to our customers. Additionally, those trends will be multiplied by environmental protection to eliminate the waste of the Earth natural resources. I think the secondary effect will be a return to a higher ethical codex and fair win-win cooperation at all professional levels. It is not possible to holistically improve without mutual trust and cooperation.
Venuše Dolejšová
Supply Chain & Kanban professional