In manufacturing, production downtime is often associated with system downtime i.e., planned or unplanned period when a system is unavailable. A production downtime has severe topline and bottom-line implications for a manufacturing organization. The cost of downtime (per hour) can include one or all of these aspects such as lost revenue, lost productivity, recovery cost, intangible cost (e.g. disruption cost, reputation cost).
No wonder – manufacturing organizations invest a lot to prevent any system downtimes. This includes everything from setting up redundant server capacity and networks to employee training/processes and disaster recovery with business continuity planning. With the new momentum of the movement to the cloud, more and more ERP and manufacturing/supply chain applications are moving to the cloud. No doubt the movement to cloud comes with a lot of benefits but unfortunately as applications move further away, i.e. from within the Plant to corporate IT and now to Cloud, it puts more stress on planned and unplanned downtime for manufacturing. No manufacturing plant or shop-floor wants downtime and are typically relentless in their pursuit to achieve zero downtime.
However “guaranteed zero downtime” is a difficult goal and technically can be achieved, but the cost is enormous. So that brings the question – “What is the cost to be Perfect” and “is it possible and feasible for everyone to achieve and sustain it?”
How about if we take a radically different approach and instead of pursuing to be perfect, we do acknowledge the fact that there will always be system downtimes – whether planned or unplanned. As a result, we must put systems and processes in place such that people can do their job, irrespective of system availability. In other words, we make the availability of ERP and/or manufacturing applications transparent to the user and thus a system downtime does not materially being the process to a complete halt.
Imagine a system where every user’s device (laptop/desktop, mobile device, etc.) is self-sufficient & self-contained in terms of data, business rules and business processes and yet very tightly integrated with your ERP & other core business applications. This provides the flexibility for each user to work online or offline wherein the user-experience stays exactly the same, irrespective of network availability. As a result, the unavailability of your core business application (e.g. ERP) does not impact the user in their day-to-day work processes and the user’s device application interacts with your ERP constantly keeps it updated.
Moreover, for a manufacturing plant, it’s much more economical to arm their plant personnel with cheap off-the-shelf laptops/desktops and mobile devices that guarantees their operations are always running instead of the corporate investing in the pursuit of zero downtime.
Want to know more about on ‘The Cost of Perfection’ read our next blog.
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