The Human Connection in Connected Process Control

by Dan McKiernan, on Apr 10, 2024 3:39:10 PM

Why personalized support can power your digital transformation

operators viewing factory machinery while working on laptop

If you, like growing numbers of manufacturers, are recognizing the game-changing potential of connected process control solutions and preparing to select the right technology tools for your business, you may realize something that might seem surprising or even counterintuitive. Namely, that a successful digital transformation depends as much (or more) on the human element as it does on the tech infrastructure.

Every company’s needs are different, every shop floor is different, and every assembly process comes with its own challenges. Which means that to be successful, digital transformations must be carefully tailored to meet your business’s big-picture technology needs as well as the operational demands of your workforce and daily production processes. The most effective way to make this happen is to work with a tech partner that blends industry expertise with strong customer engagement.

The nature of that engagement—like the systems and solutions it centers on—depends on your overall goals for your connected process control solutions. To clearly define your expectations and aspirations, it’s important to have a collaborative discussion.

From Consultation to Implementation

To clearly lay out your expectations and aspirations for the new systems, it’s important to have a collaborative back-and-forth discussion about what you’re looking for, what solutions are most likely to fulfill those requirements, and how best to move forward with the design and implementation process.

This initial consultation is essential, not only in making sure that the technology solution is a good fit, but to confirm that your workforce is equipped to adopt and optimize that solution. An experienced technology partner can help you bring your IT team into the conversation, to help ensure that your existing IT infrastructure and budget are sufficient to handle the transformation.

Where Experience Meets Process Flow

Another important customization component stems from the transformation of an existing model-based production process to a system that is based on the bill of materials (BOM). For an auto manufacturer, for example, moving from a production process that may currently be designed to produce ten model variations of a V8 engine to a customizable, BOM-based process that can deliver virtually endless variations at the push of a button, this means doing the hard work up front to accommodate that complexity. It means managing the process flow based on the components and the variables within that process. And because every company has a unique way they want to manage their process, there is a level of manufacturing experience and hands-on counsel required to make that happen.

With today’s new connected process control solutions, that hard work pays off: these tools are often nearly self-sufficient once they are up and running. However, if you want to take your transformation a step further and integrate production in the ERP layer of your solution, you can seek out your technology provider to request more training and support.

As you get close to go-live, you will typically seek out one of two support scenarios to help streamline the implementation: either an in-house “champion” trained by the tech partner to oversee the transition and answer questions from colleagues, or a turnkey professional services model to make sure things are running smoothly at every stage.

For businesses with complex needs that require a variety of products, having a professional services team that includes dedicated project managers, execution engineers, and subject matter experts can be a game-changer. Conversely, if your business is ready to undertake a simpler implementation but needs to help ensure that your employees are confident in the face of change, a trained champion may be the answer.

Regardless of the size of your implementation team, it’s important to focus on the human exchange of ideas— best digital transformations are inherently collaborative, and big ideas can grow from small interactions. At Epicor, we know that the right connected process control solution can get you started on your path toward digital transformation. Equally important, we acknowledge that it’s our human expertise and insights that will help you reach your destination.

Learn how Epicor solutions can help your business thrive.


Topics:OpinionLean ManufacturingConnected Process Control

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Our team is a creative bunch that loves learning and pushing the limits to find the best solutions for today's lean manufacturers.  Internal discussions at the office might range from new features that manufacturing process control software should have to machine learning, blockchain technology, or what the future of AR on the plant floor looks like. Check out our blog for opinions, news and trends that we find interesting and think you might too!