Agile Manufacturing: What is it? What are the benefits? How can you get started? 

In this article we will be exploring the topic of Agile Manufacturing - What is it, what are the benefits, and how can you get started?

Today’s manufacturers must adopt agile manufacturing technologies in order to innovate, optimise, and plan ahead to operate in the most agile way.  

The manufacturing sector has faced some extraordinary challenges during the past few years. Disruptions in general have been growing in both frequency and magnitude, including geopolitical upheavals, climate-related catastrophes, and public health crises. 

Only businesses and organisations that can maintain flexibility and adapt to market needs and conditions have been able to withstand the storms and successfully re-emerge. This is especially true given the challenges of increasing standards for demand, customer service, and delivery. 

Manufacturing Optimization

Manufacturing Optimization

Challenges being faced by manufacturers

Due to several disruptions over the past few years, it has become increasingly important to be flexible in order to effectively manage the production environment, supply chain, and shop floor. 

A large number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers were forced to release their employees from factories and shop floors since many OEMs and supply chains in the sector lacked the ability to prevent layoffs. Production must, however, speed up because of the improved global climate and growing demand for tourism. 

So, what challenges are manufacturers facing?  

  • A huge skill gap in the workforce 
  • A need for improved workplace safety measures 
  • Future-proofing industrial processes are necessary to account for disruptions 
  • A greater requirement for manufacturing capacity flexibility 
  • A crucial requirement for workforce automation 
  • Improved and robust supply chains are required to enable production ramp-up 
  • A rise in the need for digital transformation or digital acceleration methods to enhance factory floor activities with automation and robotics and create a data-driven production environment 
  • Gaining insight into manufacturing through the rapid deployment of a smart factory 

Restarting production environments and getting back to the level of quality that product manufacturers were accustomed to is challenging and complex due to all these new challenges. 

How can manufacturers address these challenges?

  • Digitalisation: Smart manufacturers have taken advantage of the recent period of global upheavals to invest in digitalization and redesign their processes with automation. Where earlier remodelling efforts may have consisted of minor changes, including technology insertion, robotics, machine learning and integration, IIoT, etc, startups are now able to adopt digitalization from the beginning and build a factory of the future, creating a new wave of manufacturers who will benefit the most from this technology. 
  • Real-time visibility: It’s common to describe the current state of communication as a linear, segregated environment. Before the supply chain can transform into a value network, which offers complete access to all necessary knowledge, know-how, skills, and talents as well as real-time social collaboration between people, groups, or organisations, this must change. A single, integrated platform will boost both the quality and speed of decision-making within an organisation and the critical transparency required between suppliers and OEMs. 
  • Value network agility: A flexible ecosystem of partners and suppliers that can handle unexpected shortages or even create new products is necessary for promptly responding to disruption. This entails establishing substitute production facilities and assembly nodes and utilising Industrial Renaissance technologies to maximise efficiency, raise standards, increase visibility, and quicken response times. 
  • Virtual Twin Technology: Bringing innovative items to market quicker than the competition is the best way to get a competitive edge. Consumers are also requesting that product development periods be shortened by manufacturers. Designing, producing, and delivering end-use items may all be done much more quickly thanks to digital-to-physical manufacturing technologies including automation and the usage of virtual twins. 

What is Agile Manufacturing?

Agile Manufacturing is a modern strategy used by manufacturers to respond quickly to changing customer needs and market demands, enabling organizations to respond to market demands quickly, and without compromising quality. An intuitive and agile manufacturing plan focuses on creating and executing an idea while gauging whether it is right for the business.

Agile manufacturing adds an extra dimension to lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is a systematic approach to minimizing waste while maintaining quality and productivity within a manufacturing unit. Agile manufacturing is more focused on fulfilling customer demand in minimal time. This method is best suited to businesses undergoing a drastic transformation and fluctuating customer needs.

Key benefits of agile manufacturing

Point solutions should be abandoned by manufacturing organisations in favour of an integrated end-to-end solution. They will then can experience enterprise planning with a comprehensive planning solution that can optimise long-, intermediate-, and short-term horizons across the whole supply chain. 

Agile manufacturing can allow you to benefit from: 

  • The agility of production: Build fully optimal master production schedules and increase the level of control over production planning. A world-record-holding optimizer with a strong track record of assisting enterprises in achieving their business goals is at the heart of agile manufacturing. 
  • Responsiveness of supply: Reduce the discrepancy between what should be produced and what is possible. Allow yourself to go beyond capacity and transition to capability by seamlessly integrating the supply plan with the operational plan. 
  • Comprehension of demand: To increase sales, anticipate demand using sophisticated statistical forecasting, improve communication between internal sales teams and external clients, and investigate demand situations. 
  • Delivering on promise: Get quick insight into the specifics of what can and should be promised to clients, then consistently fulfil that promise. Order promising enables you to see the effects of accepting an order and determines whether you have the resources and capacity necessary to complete the order. 

How to get started

Business executives are aware of the urgent need for greater company agility and resilience enabled by digital transformation, given the recent high cost of disruption brought on by the worldwide pandemic. 

By utilising our established consulting methods and service portfolio, our Value Engagement model is specifically created to provide success on high-risk, must-succeed digital business transformation projects. Together, you and our transformation experts will decide what you need most to make your company more adaptable, durable, and sustainable as well as the most effective way to get there. 

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform offers a wide range of solutions that support business innovation from product conception through planning and manufacture. Organizations can use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to synchronise the key components of their operations utilising digital tools and models. Supply chain and production virtual twins can collaborate on this platform to support enterprises in achieving their objectives. 

Start your own transformation get in touch with our business advisors today.    

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DELMIA is a Global Industrial Operations software that specializes in digital manufacturing and manufacturing simulation.

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