Supply Chain Manufacturing

IT and OT Converge: Are You Prepared?

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Steve Shebuski, VP of Digital Strategy

Guiding businesses through their digital transformation journey

IT and Operational Technology (OT) have long been separate. IT focuses on technology support for the back office, OT focused on machinery, equipment, tools, and assets.

With big data, Internet of Things (IoT), and advancements in connectivity, Microsoft discovered that it's more feasible and beneficial to converge IT and OT. Data is shared and gives management a holistic view of their organization. 

Convergence

"In today's world of connected, intelligent manufacturing, the convergence of IT and OT is an inevitability," say's Microsoft in their 2019 Manufacturing Trends Report

Each day the need for connectivity and visibility across your enterprise grows. Converging IT and OT systems creates new possibilities such as machines that identify their own faulty parts, systems that detect and resolve unbalanced load flows, and enough streamlined data to make smart business decisions.

Considerations when Converging

There are some challenges to be aware of when converging IT and OT. Integrating two completely separate systems isn't always easy. Having the right partner to create integrations and guide you through the process makes all the difference. 

Maintaining security is always important during changes such as converging IT and OT. Make sure existing security practices are sufficient or enhanced to provide the best protection to your company's data.

Updating Legacy Machines

Giving your machinery a face lift increases the connectivity of your organization. It's common to think that updating your manufacturing processes means starting from a blank slate. This isn't necessarily the case. Legacy machinery can be upgraded and integrated with new technology. 

Improving your legacy machines can be as simple as adding an inexpensive sensor to track data. This enables management to identify bottlenecks and develop more efficient processes.

As systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Blue Horseshoe Supply Chain Cloud grow in popularity, many manufacturers are migrating their operations to the cloud.

Companies who invested heavily in on-premise systems struggle with the decision to migrate, but the reduction in overhead costs, flexibility, availability, and visibility make the move worth it. 

"Cobots"

Cobots are collaborative robots designed to add to human labor, not replace it. They help organizations with quality assurance, automation, and predictive intelligence. 

Though there is fear surrounding robots, Microsoft found research showing that cobots increase jobs due to the growth it brings to the company. Work conditions become safer as more dangerous processes are completed by machinery and efficiency increases.

"Barclays Equity Research projects that by 2025, cobots will grow from a 1.35 billion market to $12.23 billion."

Green Manufacturing

Both consumers and regulators are becoming more conscience of an organization’s environmental impact. Three-quarters of Millennials and Gen Z are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services.

Every day, more companies are switching to green manufacturing. They reduce overall energy consumption, waste, pollution, and some are even taking steps to make sure the packaging and disposal of the product is environmentally friendly.

Blue Horseshoe partnered with Poco Loco to help them achieve their commitment to sustainability while using Microsoft Dynamics to full automate their facility. They reduced their CO2 emissions by 1 tonne each day! Learn more about Poco Loco's journey.

Next Steps

Staying competitive in today's market its crucial for manufacturers. Blue Horseshoe helps you streamline your supply chain, gain visibility into your processes and analytics, and increase efficiency with solutions that are right for your business.

 Connect with us to see how your business will be transformed.

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