As digital transformation reshapes North America’s automotive industry, some companies may be challenged by the resources and effort required to build and operate the digital factory. The solution? Digital factory-as-a-service.
In the digital factory, the barriers between functions and processes are broken down and replaced by an integrated digital operating and control environment in which automotive companies’ ERP, MES, CRM and other systems communicate seamlessly across the enterprise and the supply chain, typically via the cloud. Connecting the top floor to the shop floor offers companies many advantages: more transparency, optimized production, improved operations, lower costs, higher quality, less downtime, fewer bottlenecks, and a better customers experience.
Building and operating a digital factory can be challenging. The applications and interfaces that underpin the digital factory are continually evolving and improving, and companies’ IT teams need to ensure key business and production processes continue to function smoothly. This is where many automotive companies run into problems—because their IT teams don’t have enough people who understand the digital factory’s cloud-based IT and OT environment and who have the expertise needed to ensure systems run reliably and securely.
Ultimately, implementing a digital factory is an ongoing commitment. For many automotive companies, it’s an investment they may be unwilling or unable to take on based on years of technical debt and poorly-document legacy manufacturing systems, often written by former employees who have since retired (or have passed away). Companies are left struggling for easy modernization strategies, often relegated to new plants which also come with unique capital expense and risk.
And that’s where digital-factory-as-a-service (DFaaS) comes in.