Last week I wrote that evolving towards key 4.0 is necessary to communicate, collaborate and interact – according to current and future standards – with customers, suppliers, colleagues, partners and so on. And that therefore an Italian company in line with the standards of Industry 4.0 will have, for example, much less difficulty in finding synergies with a German company, that in turn will be 4.0, than with the historic Italian supplier that continues to work with traditional methods.

It is starting from these assumptions that we will dedicate a good part of our investments in 2018 to smart manufacturing, according to the standards of 4.0. starting from the implementation of a new management system that will become the digital heart of MICROingranaggi.

I would say that the choice of this platform was rather difficult because we came into contact with various suppliers who all proposed solutions of the highest level. Then, as you know, at some point the choice had to be made and we decided to follow in the footsteps of a number of companies with whom we work regularly, with the aim of minimising (if not completely eliminating) any communication difficulties.

The new system will consist of MRP (i.e. ‘Material Requirements Planning’, necessary for production management), of ERP (‘Enterprise Resource Planning’ for resource planning) and of a combined module for accounting management.
All the machines in our workshop will be networked with the MRP to provide us with a precise image of what is and what will be the coverage of each of them with the aim of optimising the current and future production in the best way possible.
The information collected in the software database will be a great help starting from the phase of discussing the offer with the customer, precisely because it will allow us to provide more precise information in terms of production times and costs.

A number of external technicians have already carried out a detailed analysis of how each MICROingranaggi department works and of each figure involved, with the aim of ascertaining whether the new system is able to cover all company needs.
The primary objective is indeed to reorganise workflows, without large variations to specific activities and instead varying the way in which they are carried out. For each task, in fact, the new management system will provide more functions, essential to improve each procedure.

The purchase and integration of a system like this requires, as I think you can well imagine, quite a significant investment, divided into costs of the management system itself (which – out of the total – will constitute the lowest expenditure), data migration and training (which will instead be the two highest cost items).
In practice, the implementation of the new management system will start from the migration of data before moving on to training, during which each MICROingranaggi operator will be joined by an external technician who will undertake training on how to carry out daily activities using the new functions that the management system will make available.

The implementation time of this system will be fairly long and will cause a general slowdown of both production and corporate processes. But,

in my opinion, this is a mandatory step that everyone will need to take sooner or later. And above all there will be considerable advantages because it will be really possible to have control of the entire company through a single system.

In general, the operating flows will be more structured, the staff will work better and it will be possible to know exactly and in real time where the goods are and so on.