As the race for shopfloor-to-boardroom systems hots up, GE Fanuc Automation has launched a new enterprise software which it claims will take real-time data from all kinds of company systems including ERP, supply chains, customers and manufacturing and control.
Using web technologies to provide a single portal for monitoring from any location in or outside the plant, EnterpriseRT will deliver the kind of `transparency’ of operations that experts believe will become inevitable as e-business takes hold of supply chain activities.
The system uses software from Californian group IndX. Users connect via a web URL, and can select what information they want to view. In doing so, they cause the enterprise server to send the required elements, with real-time data which updates and animates the display.
A user can put together a wide range of information from a variety of sources around the company and from its global customers and suppliers. And as it is browser based, it allows monitoring from anywhere that a network connection is available.
The `thin’ client approach means less software, maximising processing efficiency. It is also quicker for users to set up their own bespoke views, and can support any number of clients, simply by adding the required number of servers.
The business issues driving this technology are already familiar. `Competitive pressures force more efficient production, shorter cycle times and smaller inventories,’ said Marcel van Helten, GE Fanuc’s head of its European Factory IT business. `Real-time monitoring and reporting are critical functions that can provide much tighter business control.’
If a company can provide all the right data to upload into the system (and that is a big `if’ for many organisations), the potential applications are numerous – including planning, cost cutting, order tracking and performance management.
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