SEP-OCT 2018

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16 INTECH SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018 WWW.ISA.ORG By Keith Chambers W hen designing software systems for man- ufacturers, there is a temptation to create a number of point solutions to deal with specific problems. Although this type of "bottom-up" model may temporarily fix each issue, there is often a lack of coherence among the solutions, with no clear path to overall business perfor- mance, and no vision for the future. A better path is to design a "top-down," multi- site, operational software architecture that first aligns business goals and performance with existing and expected customer demands. This architecture then drives each aspect of the sys tem—with all solutions aligned, coherent, and contributing to overall performance. Point solutions can still be delivered within this archi - tecture, but the coherence and synergy among those solutions will now by assured within a future-proofed architecture. To do this, one should start by looking at the global megatrends directing present and future consumer demand. Global megatrends Economists and others who study trends often say demographics is destiny, in large part be - cause these types of changes can be predicted with a relatively high degree of accuracy. There are three megatrends now driving how manu - facturers must manage their operations while planning for the future. 1. The first megatrend encompasses two related demographic changes: l An explosion of growth in the global middle class: More than 50 percent of this demo- graphic group now lives in the developing economies of the Asia-Pacific region. There is a direct correlation between this new- found affluence and increasing demand for branded products. l An aging of the worldwide population: In just a few years, there will be more people in the world older than 60 than under age 6. This will affect manufacturers differently depend- ing on what types of products they make and the regions they serve. For example, a com- pany making toothpaste might now fo cus more on products geared to those with sen- sitive teeth. Further, each of these shifts will have a major effect on the manufacturing workforce, demanding more efficient use of human capital and improved knowledge transfer from retiring to younger workers. Latest software systems improve business performance Global megatrends driving manufacturing digital transformation Figure 4: Handheld devices, such as tablets hosting software, can be used to digitize production line operations.

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