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SAP NetWeaver Magazine Supplement: Shop Floor

by Sudipta Bhattacharya

August 11, 2009

Manufacturers today face an environment of unpredictable change. To compete in this environment, factories must be able to adapt to that change.

Manufacturing Productivity: Leveraging the Last Mile of Connectivity into the Factory Floor

by Sudipta Bhattacharya

Today, unprecedented connectivity and interdependence across global supply networks are forcing manufacturers to face an environment of unpredictable change. To successfully respond to this change, manufacturing must be adaptive, which means the factory has the ability to profitably replenish the supply network in response to unpredictable change.

In practical terms, adaptability means that the manufacturing firm must have the ability to sense relevant changes that take place in real time on the factory floor and be able to use the information about these changes in a timely way to make and execute manufacturing decisions to respond to those changes. This environment needs enabling software applications and a stable technology platform. Being able to access real-time information from the plant floor and leverage this information to manage exceptions across the supply chain is key to creating an adaptive manufacturing environment - which helps drive business competitiveness.

Most of SAP's manufacturing customers, when viewed in the context of their global production capabilities, have a wide variety of plant-level IT assets that need to be integrated into an overall manufacturing solution to drive business competitiveness. Visibility into manufacturing operations and its linkage to the supply chain is crucial to empowerment across the supply network. Therefore, it is essential that SAP offer connectivity to this "last mile" of the internal supply chain - with information being the key driver for the adaptive manufacturing vision.

Also, as customers ask SAP for the ability to manage their businesses in real time, the exchange of information between manufacturing and supply network operations starts to become increasingly important. Getting access to real-time plant floor information allows improved decision-making through 1) better exception management and 2) improved performance management all across the manufacturing and supply network operations.

Better Exception Management

Better exception management within a manufacturing environment comes from the real-time transactional integration between plant and enterprise systems. This is clearly an area that requires an enterprise system such as SAP. A key driver of this strategy is plant-floor-to-enterprise-process connectivity across mySAP ERP and current shop floor systems such as Manufacturing Execution System (MES) automation as well as different legacy systems in which all manufacturing customers have invested. SAP can help bridge the gap between enterprise operations and real-time plant floor ops by enabling enhanced connectivity to the plant floor through standard prebuilt connectors that it now has available for most shop floor systems.

From a customer's perspective, this strategy significantly reduces complexity, cost, and the time-to-value involved with building and maintaining custom connections to exchange information between the business systems and manufacturing systems.

From a shop floor partner's perspective, this strategy dramatically reduces the complexity of integration with mySAP ERP, and "productizing" this interface enables partners to free up precious R&D resources for true innovation in the areas of their unique expertise.

Improved Performance Management

Improved manufacturing performance management comes from the ability to do unified, real-time analytics and visualization, often referred to as "enterprise manufacturing intelligence." This enables SAP to aggregate and contextualize information from multiple systems and render them as rich analytic iViews into SAP manufacturing intelligence dashboards. These analytics in turn enable plant-level performance tracking and Six Sigma programs.

From a customer's perspective, instead of having to access information from multiple systems and use spreadsheets to aggregate, analyze, and visualize the information separately from MES, automation, and homegrown legacy systems, customers can now access all relevant information through a common user interface (SAP role-based dashboards) - which in turn empowers them to make better and faster decisions.

From a shop floor partner's perspective, the dashboard framework has been specifically designed to enable partners to link in alerts, key performance indicators (KPIs), and drilldown content in a seamless manner, providing a consistent and easy-to-leverage information delivery framework built on SAP NetWeaver.

Freedom to Innovate

Ultimately, a solution for these areas ensures that customers as well as partners achieve a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and have the ability to create an integrated manufacturing platform that enables superior exception-based management and enables SAP and partner applications to be easily integrated. Integral to SAP NetWeaver and the enterprise services architecture (ESA) concept is the desire to enable customers and ISV partners to shift development resources away from common business processes and functionality that focuses on integration toward "core" development activities that are the foundation for innovation and true customer value.

See the table below for information about how SAP and its partners jointly envision closing various manufacturing gaps.

SAP and Partners Enable Closure of Various Manufacturing Gaps

Current Gap - Disconnected Mfg

Specific Examples

SAP and Partner Solution

Roles Benefited

Lack of access to near real-time production information for decision support

Cannot easily determine overall equipment efficiencies or first-time-right metrics or low yield

Capture plant floor data and push calculated values to SAP for advanced analysis

Decision support for plant manager, prod. supervisor, and VP operations

Limited value to raw shop floor data without context relevance

Data like flow rates, energy consumption available but not connected to inventory, costs

Captures mfg data, SAP correlates with financial/inv info for decision support

Decision support for plant manager, VP operations, and VP finance

Aggregating and disaggregating and drill-ins and drill-outs difficult

Capacity utilization, labor-material efficiency information difficult to aggregate or drill into

Drill into SAP for aggregate analysis and drill out to partner for disaggregating

Decision support for plant manager, VP operations

Inability to connect roles to actual information

Lack of empowered user through specific role-based views that push relevant information

Trigger workflows based on information pushed to roles directly from shop floor

Decision support for all manufacturing roles 

Mfg Alerts & Events from non-SAP domains frequently invisible

Maintenance and quality alerts emerging on shop floor rarely move to SAP in real time

Rules-based, real-time, multi-source events captured and pushed into SAP roles

Decision support for maintenance, quality supervisor

Augment real-time OPC information into PI sheets

Visual content for analysis over time periods for info access collected from OPC inadequate

Composite transformed views enable broader access to OPC data or aggregates thru SAP

Decision support for prod. supervisor, prod. operator  

Unstructured information movement through manufacturing layers

No structured standards like S95 for systematic or economical info movement across mfg

Plant data adaptor to SAP XI and S95-structured transactional data from partner sent to SAP XI

Reduced TCO and ease of information for all manufacturing roles


SAP Enterprise Portal Users Gain Role-Based Insights

by Dr. Gretchen Schwenzer

To be successful in today's increasingly time-sensitive and competitive markets, manufacturing enterprises need processes that are fast and flexible and that can adapt quickly to change. Achieving integrated shop-floor-to-business-application integration requires the ability to capture, access, distribute, and most importantly, contextualize this business-critical operational and enterprise-level information to the right people at the right time. Such "adaptive manufacturing" must take place in an environment characterized by globally distributed manufacturing facilities, shrinking product lifecycles, increased response velocity, and zero defect quality.

OSIsoft has delivered real-time performance management software for the process industries for more than twenty years and has been an SAP partner since 1996.

With its Real-Time Performance Management Business Package, OSIsoft brings its real-time data platform to SAP Enterprise Portal. To support proactive business decisions, the business package uses key performance indicators (KPIs) from SAP and manufacturing to drive improved performance in asset utilization, supply chain management, and product lifecycle management, and it then delivers that information to SAP portal users through collections of iViews.

The Business Package is part of the OSIsoft RtPM Platform, which includes RtBaseline to gather data from sensor-based systems and IT agents; RtAnalytics for calculations, analysis functions, alerts, and event management; and RtPortal for displaying role-based processes, documents, and information. The Business Package offers graphics, trending, alerts, and event notification. It is integrated with other third-party iViews that have been developed to SAP standards to reach users across the enterprise regardless of their role.

Examples of the business value including the following:

  • Business analysts can view KPIs to more quickly identify and address efficiency issues

  • Manufacturing executives can view in real time and tied to any particular customer the capacity utilization, product flow, revenue generated, and orders affected by any outages

  • Plant managers can compare quality with production statistics to optimize costs

  • Schedulers can use real-time data to make better inventory decisions and reduce waste

  • Plant operators can moreeasily monitor the status of an operational run to reduce waste

  • Maintenance supervisors can monitor deviations on a condition-based model, rather than a break-fix model, which can improve reliability, availability, and capacity and result in cost savings

  • IT support staff can monitor the performance of CPUs, networks, routers, and applications to continually increase availability and support service-level agreements

OSIsoft and SAP have pooled their collective expertise in business software and real-time manufacturing operations to enable customers to see their entire enterprise in one portal view. The combination of solutions from OSIsoft and SAP creates an adaptive manufacturing organization that can absorb deviations with greater agility while lowering costs and significantly reducing risk.

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Production & Performance Management Capabilities Yield Competitive Advantage

by Claus Abildgren

Manufacturing today is not becoming easier. Price pressure from global markets forces constant reductions in production costs. Time-to-market and time-to-volume are critical factors for meeting customer demands, and they all require increased complexity in product mix and timely supply. Manufacturers also face challenges with governmental regulation compliance.

It's now about running manufacturing at the speed of business. Manufacturers must have the ability to respond rapidly and cost-effectively to supply and demand variations and understand how actual performance and current operational activities align with business objectives. Instead of reacting to changing conditions, manufacturers need the ability to exploit new opportunities for making profits before they vanish.

To achieve sustained profitability, successful manufacturers focus on how they can enact adaptive manufacturing - connecting the enterprise to its manufacturing sites. As you run your business with SAP, Wonderware can help you improve the way you run your manufacturing operation.

An Innovative Approach to Business-to-Manufacturing Integration

Wonderware, working with more than 100,000 manufacturing customer sites, has identified several key software and operational strategies that can help drive increased profitability across multiple manufacturing sites - while lowering the cost of ownership.

  • Adoption of ISA S95/B2MML as a common message structure and deployment of corporate standards, which enables simplified maintenance of an integration solution for a large number of sites.

  • Leveraging SAP Exhchange Infrastructure (SAP XI) to employ a highly standardized SAP solution, which enables lower maintenance costs and easier migration to future versions.

  • Standardization on manufacturing applications with a common manufacturing information infrastructure, while allowing each plant to use specific solutions according to its needs.

  • Adoption of low-risk, scalable, and reusable software architecture, called ArchestrA, that can grow with future requirements of processes, technology, and people while keeping within local plant budgets. Users can build upon their existing automation and IT infrastructure without affecting existing systems or disrupting production.

Wonderware is executing real-time implementations together with SAP, and several common customers are already benefiting.

One example is Arla Foods, one of Europe's largest dairy product manufacturers. Arla's rollout of best manufacturing standards using SAP XI technology with Wonderware manufacturing software was showcased at recent SAP Sapphire events in Copenhagen and Boston.

Wonderware's production and performance management software solutions extend the manufacturing capabilities of SAP to deliver adaptive manufacturing.

The result is significant reductions in the effort and costs associated with designing, building, deploying, and maintaining secure and standardized applications for supporting manufacturing operations. By using Wonderware and SAP to synchronize your manufacturing operations with business objectives, you get the speed and flexibility to attain sustained profitability.

About Wonderware and ArchestrA

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