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WHAT IS E-Manufacturing?


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decision makers, decision, management, magazine, books, articles, research, business

Issue No:02/04/1

A Preface to E-Manufacturing

Information Technology (IT), particularly the Internet, has increased pressure on businesses to meet the demands of technology-equipped customers for higher levels of responsive, personalized service and higher levels of product quality. The Internet has completely changed the way that manufacturing organizations do business. E-Manufacturing (e-mfg) can play a key role in improving the efficiency, throughput and responsiveness, all of which can lead to increased customer-satisfaction.

What is E-mfg ?

E-mfg is the use of (web-based) information technology tools to enhance manufacturing and related processes through intelligent sensing, analysis and use of real-time, manufacturing-plant data.

E-mfg represents the culmination of evolutionary developments in the management and control of manufacturing systems. It is a milestone that aids an easy information flow between the customer, manufacturing operations and suppliers. E-mfg is driven by the new prominence of the customer, who is the king, having far more powers and requiring greater responsiveness from the production floor. For example, there’s got to be some way of determining instantly, ability to fulfill an order profitably. In e-manufacturing, capacity and inventories need to be visible to the supply chain. The emphasis is, however, on the aspect that decisions made in implementing e-mfg will affect the supply chain and other elements of e-business and it must always be made to benefit an entire company, not just an individual manufacturing plant.

The scope of e-mfg extends to the utilization of IT for the intelligent sensing and analysis of real-time data from manufacturing plants and the intelligent use of this data to maximize productivity, efficiency, product quality and safety, to optimize energy usage, and to minimize down time, maintenance costs, and the time required for product changeover and ramp-up. Many analysts believe that e-mfg could fabricate product gains that equal or surpass those obtained through the introduction of steam and electricity on plant floors.

Key Applications

When fully implemented, e-mfg uses electronically transmitted knowledge, which can be utilized to:

  • Design products
  • Transmit orders
  • Procure components
  • Schedule production machines

Additionally, e-mfg aids in finest use of mechanizing plant facilities while maintaining quality, and meeting promised delivery dates. Moreover, it makes plausible the organization of production scheduling, in-plant sequencing and creating delivery loads. A serious component of e-mfg is the use of sensors to scrutinize function of in-plant machines and propel information to the software that controls machine procedure during the manufacturing course.

Further on, e-mfg also:

  • Links factories to one another and links to their supply chains
  • Connects customers to dealers
  • Responds to customer demands so as to mass customize items in quantities as small as one
  • Deliver the product faster than ever with the highest possible quality
  • Increase flexibility
  • Pace up the growth of machine and process control systems
  • Balances workloads among employees

E-mfg is not intended to replace humans in the manufacturing process, but to empower them to be much more productive and effective than they currently are. The tools of e-mfg can eliminate obstacles and extend human capabilities to swift and accurate accomplishment of work. This, further on, enables the workers to focus on the innovation and creativity that are the precepts of the competitive edge.

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