Digital Manufacturing (DM): The SAP solution for manufacturing companies

With SAP Digital Manufacturing, a product has been created that can be used by both the process industry and discrete manufacturing to map store floor processes. The main focus of SAP DM is to support operators in their daily tasks in connection with store floor management. But what does that actually mean? Digital manufacturing is an approach that uses modern technology such as artificial intelligence or big data analytics to digitalize the entire production process and subsequently, of course, to optimize it. The aim of digital manufacturing is to increase efficiency in operations and thus reduce costs.

Sequence of a Shopfloor Process

The Shopfloor-Process describes all the steps required to convert raw materials into finished products. The following process can be roughly outlined:
Production planning
This deals with which order is to be produced by which resources (machines and/or employees) at which time.
Personnel planning
Based on this, the personnel or shift plan is finally drawn up to find out how many personnel are required for production.
The machines used collect important real-time data during the manufacturing process, which provides valuable information for future decisions and optimizations.
Quality control
It must be ensured that the goods produced meet the quality standards.
The machines need to be maintained and repaired on an ongoing basis. Predictive planning and forecasting of maintenance requirements can minimize downtimes and therefore also costs.
Finally, it is also necessary to document, monitor and report processes and production data in a traceable and automated manner.

The three key components of SAP

With the new cloud-based solution SAP DM, significant advantages can be achieved in process optimization:

(Digital Manufacturing for Execution)
This allows you to organize and monitor all Shopfloor processes - both those of discrete manufacturing and those of the process industry - almost in real time. This also includes seamless traceability during production: Which raw materials are used at what time and in what quantities? The production machines supply real-time data on production, which can then be analyzed. If necessary, follow-up activities are initiated on the basis of this actual data.
(Digital Manufacturing for Insights)
This module allows production data to be displayed, organized and analysed comprehensively and clearly. The SAP Analytics Cloud Embedded Edition can be used to create simple reports at Shopfloor level. The dashboards can be individually configured and parameterized. There are also ready-made reports provided by SAP.
(Resource Orchestration)
This is where the shift planning for your employees takes place. This is based on all orders planned in advance in the ERP system, which can be used to carry out personnel planning, tool planning and resource planning at daily or shift level. This allows shift managers to react quickly and flexibly to machine or employee downtime.

"Although SAP Digital Manufacturing is a cloud product, it can be individually extended. Various options are available for extending the functionality, such as the development of process automation (directly in the DM using NoCode/LowCode technology), the integration of self-programmed plug-ins or applications using side-by-side extensions and the option of customizing data manipulation in the interfaces provided. Another advantage of DM is its connectivity. Connections to SAP S/4HANA, SAP EWM (= Extended Warehouse Management), SAC (SAP Analytics Cloud), SAP AIN (= Asset Intelligence Network) and ARIBA are included as standard."

Variety of application areas

SAP Digital Manufacturing can be used in any manufacturing company, regardless of industry. Here are two examples from our practice that show the diverse areas of application, but also the different challenges that come with them:

Medical technology company:
A special feature of the implementation of SAP DM at this customer is certainly the high requirements that software must meet in order to be used in the medical sector (especially with regard to data security and data manipulation capability as well as the traceability of the products produced).
Companies from the chemical industry:
In this case, the challenge lies in tracking the individual batches (containers/batches) through the entire production flow. It must be possible to seamlessly trace the individual batches at all times. A special feature here is the different batch sizes per production step (splitting containers or merging several containers into one batch).
The more diverse the areas of application, the more complex the tasks we encounter in our daily work. But we love tricky requirements that challenge us. Because they allow us to grow and develop. And true to the motto "There's no such thing as impossible", we look forward to mastering your challenges soon!
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