The Manufacturing Industry is undergoing revolutionary change at its core where operations take a front row to help improve performance, penetrate new markets and collect information to drive greater visibility in the extended value chain. At every node in the value chain, margins are trending to lower ranges and operational cost continues to rise. Customers are becoming more energy-conscious and also continue to demand higher levels of quality in the product and services that they buy.
Microsoft provides solutions to address the most relevant forces driving the big shift on the way Global Operations are managed and improved: Connected Experiences, Demographics, Social Communities, Globalization, and Sustainability & Regulations. The Engage Manufacturer needs to continually find innovative ways to advance their business. Microsoft offers an array of platforms for infrastructure and applications as well as for productivity and collaboration that help enhance the flow of real-time data and conduct high quality interactions with the unique capability that all those platforms interoperate by design. Unlike other providers that offer silo approaches and fragmented solutions, Microsoft comprehensive platforms are preferred because they offer a low cost option that is familiar and easy to use as well as intelligent and connected.
To address Global Operation issues, Microsoft focuses on improving primarily four tenets in the business:
- People performance by creating better visibility and supporting role-based business workflows
- Means of connectivity and manageability to improve asset utilization
- Driving process excellence merging unstructured and structured environments and automating business processes
- Manage yield and KPIs by maintaining a real-time flow of information and events.
Customers have experienced recurring leverage of software capabilities with specific usage patterns when they excel at bringing to live those business capabilities. Microsoft’s value proposition relies on the ability to create simple and natural human interfaces that promote the Individual’s productivity and social business interaction, both of which are fundamental to support business networks that often extend beyond the enterprise. Microsoft is able to deliver this connected experience in a secure, scalable and agile form with the help of its partner ecosystem.
Key Microsoft technologies to support Global Operations include:
Microsoft SharePoint for manufacturing portal, collaboration, document management and business intelligence solutions that help provide role-based access and real-time visibility to factory & manufacturing applications such as MES, ERP, HRM, MRO, etc.
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is a cloud-ready information platform that helps bring manufacturing data together from virtually any source within an organization and enables breakthrough insights across the organization. It also supports simple ad hoc analysis and sophisticated predictive analytics, and is used to publish highly formatted and interactive reports integrated with familiar Office tools (Excel, PowerPivot) that make data easily accessible to a large number of people.
Microsoft FAST Search Server provides broad and powerful search capabilities across all manufacturing operations, including contextual search, whereby search results can be personalized based on role, job, function, or other user requirements.
Microsoft Lync is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform, fully integrated with Microsoft Exchange and Office. With Lync, operations personnel can improve collaboration and decision making by keeping track of their contacts’ availability; sending an IM; starting or joining an audio, video, or web conference; or making a phone call—all through a consistent, familiar interface.
Windows Azure provides an open and flexible cloud platform with virtually unlimited compute and storage scale that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build next generation manufacturing applications that help monitor, aggregate, analyze and improve operations with data from your industrial assets and factory operations. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.
Windows 8 is Windows reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability. It's an all-new touch interface, perfect for the immersive experiences employees are seeking when in the factory or in the office. It's a new Windows for new devices.
Windows Phone 7 Whether for work or personal use, Windows Phone is designed for productivity right out of the box. Because Windows Phone is built on a familiar platform, users can be productive while in the office or on the plant floor. Furthermore, it provides the flexibility of integrating with the organization’s corporate infrastructure—on-premise, or in the cloud.
Microsoft Dynamics AX is an ERP system for local plant implementations augmenting a centralized enterprise implementation.