A 360-degree view of the supply chain, the shop floor, and your customer

In this episode, we talk with Shekar Hariharan, VP of Product Marketing at Jitterbit. Shekar highlights the crucial role data integrations and APIs play in driving innovation, efficiency, and agility in the manufacturing sector. Here are a few highlights:

2:57 – Digital Disruption

Shekar: Manufacturing, just like any other industry, is being impacted by digital disruption…there’s data scattered across different systems, and… unless you connect these systems together, you have what you call data silos. 

3:58 – The Matrix

Andrew: I have this mental image of disparate databases housing lots of data, machines on the shop floor streaming lots of data, suppliers in your supply chain both upstream and downstream… and it just seems like the scene from the Matrix where you see all this data just flowing everywhere and you don’t really know how to make sense of it. 

7:40 – Integration Use Cases

Shekar: So, let’s break it down into the business goals of why a company would connect data. Streamlining product design and development could be one use case… a great example is retail, where a clothing that is in fashion today may not be six months from now. So, the way you handle that is to set up your systems to support agile manufacturing. So, a product is designed and that’s pushed by the design team into production. The production team does a prototype. That goes into quality and testing and eventually into production and deployment, and then you get feedback from your customers on how they like it. That input comes from various channels like we talked about earlier… social, [and sales] and different data points. So just there, you have one use case where companies are trying to streamline their design and development through integration and how the data flows through different systems, from PLM to production, distribution, and back to the design team for continuous improvement. 

11:04 – IoT

Andrew: I think that’s a good segue into the Internet of Things, and the blending of machines and humans. 

12:03 – Predictive Maintenance

Shekar: Yeah, absolutely. A great example would be a machine that is working ’round the clock because companies can’t afford downtime. And then, eventually, for you to do preventative maintenance, you need to know the cycle time, maybe other variables are of interest, like your temperature, your pressure… You need data to come in real time from these devices back to tracking systems so that way you can plan. 

13:30 – Proactive Service

Andrew: This is also giving manufacturers more power to provide additional services and support to the end customer. So, getting more into the predictive aspect of the business so that they can proactively go out and service or support things before a customer even knows that they may be experiencing downtime.

14:40 – Industry 4.0 Starts with Integration

Shekar: At Jitterbit, we surveyed hundreds of manufacturers globally, and the insight we got is only about 1/3 have a cohesive strategy to implement Industry 4.0. At the end of the day, if you want to get more ROI, if you want to deliver great customer experiences, digitize your processes, be agile enough to respond to changing market needs… if you want to do all of that, you have to have a strategy in place. And that strategy starts with integration.


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