June 20, 2019

How a Common Operational Picture (COP) unlocks hidden business value

BY Matthew Stemmler
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Omnipresent means you’re always in the know…

If friends asked you watch their two-year-old, you probably wouldn’t be too worried about keeping an eye on the child. On the other hand, if someone asked you to watch 20 two-year-olds, you might feel a bit more apprehensive (I certainly would!).

But every day we in the manufacturing industry face a similar chaotic situation: front-line supervisors are tasked with overseeing teams of employees dispersed throughout the factory, a disturbing lack of visibility that puts them in an impossible situation. In today’s lean manufacturing environment, where capacities are carefully planned out, inventory is kept to a minimum, and any interruption quickly creates real stress on the manufacturing process, these blind-leading-the-blind managers have virtually no hope of knowing or understanding what is really happening on their watch.

Plus, the fact that year-over-year improvements are now the norm just adds to the pressure. We all know the low hanging fruit is soon gone.

The good news is that managers can virtually “be everywhere at once” anywhere in the factory through a Common Operational Picture (COP). A COP solution converges operational technologies (OT) and information technologies (IT) (ERP) to provide real-time visibility into all your processes and performance levels. Glitches in the system literally have nowhere to hide.

In manufacturing, every moment matters…

Any unmet performance index can lead to unsatisfied customers and an unhealthy bottom line, and any delay in finding and correcting the issue exacerbates the negative impact. Deploying a COP solution eliminates the informational gap between the physical and transactional parts of your business. The COP alerts you to any anomaly in your process – in real time, using a report-by-exception methodology – so you can quickly respond and get back on track.

It’s not magic, but there is a secret formula…

With the right implementation, setting up a COP is not a long shot. The secret is to merge your organization’s OT and IT at the correct levels to unlock your hidden factory and reveal the real challenges that are taking a bite out of your bottom line. Because you get actionable insights in real time, you see immediate improvements in productivity and business value.

With extraordinary levels of practical experience using SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence tools to integrate manufacturers’ OT assets and ERP systems, c5mi builds in seamless communication between enterprise and production. Even the nirvana of live ATP is within reach.