The growing need for factory operations to meet fast-changing customer and market requirements is driving manufacturers to be more agile and flexible than ever. With high-level objectives to compress time frames and streamline processes, manufacturers are developing new ways to unite their plant and business operations to also optimize resource use, drive customer requirements closer to the production line, and accelerate time to market. In a globally connected marketplace, speed, adaptability, and innovation are the new currencies in the manufacturing realm.
Nowhere is this more evident than the convergence of Operations Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). Traditionally focused on factory-based assets and processes, OT is largely comprised of plant systems such as sensors, machines, devices, connectors, and applications that manage and monitor operations. For years, OT systems remained a distinct element within manufacturing workflows, but as the benefits of standards-based architectures, reliable high-speed networking, centralized management, and big data analytics transformed the role of IT, the wisdom of merging traditionally separate OT and IT ecosystems in manufacturing environments became unassailable.
The ability of IT and OT leaders to jointly develop more agile, flexible, and transparent customer engagement and production models that span business systems, supply chains, and factory environments has today become a prerequisite for success and growth in the manufacturing sector.