A couple of Invensys (now Schneider, I’ll wait for the official announcement about how to name it) executives have been blogging some thoughtful pieces. Here is another one from Tim Sowell, VP and Invensys Fellow on Collaborative Manufacturing.

We’ve been discussing this topic for years as the ease of digital communications just keeps improving. Tim steps back and looks at the requirements:

“An effective Collaborative Manufacturing strategy requires business processes to include more inputs and interactions than most traditional processes. To support Collaborative Manufacturing, information systems must integrate and aggregate information from across the manufacturing business and from its suppliers, trading partners, and customers. It must also provide the means to intelligently distribute that information across various business entities.”

So how can small enterprises now leverage the technology previously available only available to larger enterprises?

“Key to me is that fact that small enterprises can now leverage “Managed service” in the cloud that deliver the rich operational business capability of inventory management, operational process and manufacturing, and specification management which was only available to much larger companies. Now an end to end product chain can be developed with aligned a process and enable a product manufacturer to divided up over multiple operations, each operation executed by a small manufacturing entity.”

Sowell concludes:

“A Collaborative Manufacturing strategy can help a company maximizes the effectiveness of its value chain in order to better control profits and address changing market demands.
Is this real, my answer is yes, I was on a plane last week, and two fellow travelers talked about the alliance and the seeking out others to make this ecosystem, combined with the agility of 3D printing, and then assemble these two expected to grow and had a good pipeline due to satisfy the ‘pay on delivery, with small order sizes’ also the ability to have local final assembly close to distribution centers and significant retailers make them more desirable to occupy the ‘shelf space’. Both agree the reality is only now that the tracking and management are common across the plants in a hosted ‘managed service’.”

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