Three ways that savvy manufacturers are using integration

In today’s manufacturing world, staying competitive means adopting smart strategies. Let’s explore how iPaaS is transforming manufacturing by ensuring seamless integration using three current trends.

Fatima El Megrabi Fatima El Megrabi

Manufacturers have always been at the forefront of innovation and technology adoption, and in today’s rapidly evolving landscape, they must keep looking for ways to strengthen their capabilities to survive against intensified market pressures and increased competition. Those who are doing this best are diving headfirst into the world of Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) to drive efficiency and growth. 

Let’s explore the three trends that are reshaping the industry and helping the savviest manufacturers connect all aspects of their business using integration to unlock data for the free flow of real-time information across systems on-premises, in a hybrid environment, or across the (multi) cloud.

Streamlining Operations with iPaaS

Digital transformation comes in different forms and flavors for manufacturers. However, one key challenge remains common for all– to innovate and grow, manufacturers need access to past, present, and future data. According to The Manufacturer, 74% of manufacturers claim to be held back by disconnected data[1]. 

The solution to this pain point looks easy – seamless flow of data across applications and data stores – on-demand, centrally, and securely available in the cloud to everyone in the organization. However, classic integration platforms often come with complexity, a steep learning curve, and price tag that is hard to swallow.  

This is where iPaaS becomes a game-changer for manufacturers. It simplifies the way systems and data talk to each other, enabling real-time data sharing across your entire manufacturing ecosystem.  

Here is how it’s making a difference:

1. Optimizing the Supply Chain

Efficiency in the supply chain is a top priority for manufacturers, and iPaaS is the secret weapon. By integrating various systems, an iPaaS creates a unified network, connecting suppliers, distributors, and your production team. 

What’s the benefit? Real-time visibility into inventory levels, production status, and delivery schedules. Automation kicks in, speeding up information flow and simplifying complex supply chain operations. This level of integration optimizes your production lines, enhances demand forecasts, and reduces waste. 

Plus, end-to-end visibility means you get a holistic view of your manufacturing operations, from sourcing raw materials to delivering the final product. With these insights, you can identify bottlenecks, fine-tune workflows, and maintain quality control throughout production. This not only enhances internal operations but results in a more agile and responsive supply chain network.

2. Elevating Customer Experiences

As consumer digital expectations continue to soar, both B2B and B2C manufacturers are feeling the pressure to step up their game and deliver personalized digital experiences.  

However, the manufacturing landscape presents its own set of challenges. Critical data on customer behavior, acquisition costs, CRM functionality, customer lifetime value, and recent interactions often reside in separate silos with different departments. This fragmented view of customer data not only hinders effective customer service interactions but also fails to deliver real value to both customers and vendors.  

As we discussed earlier, the right iPaaS can be a key player in eliminating disjointed communication across systems and unlocking data that resides in a multitude of places across your manufacturing ecosystem (on-prem, hybrid, cloud, multi-cloud, etc.). Using integration, you can unlock substantial value by creating connected digital experiences and tailored product offerings that cater to the unique needs of B2B and B2C customers.  

Consider straightforward solutions like automating scheduling for service technicians or equipping customer service representatives with a comprehensive view of all customer activities. These seemingly small changes can have a substantial impact on enhancing customer loyalty and retention. The added bonus? Proper integration ensures information about your customers is at your fingertips. No more incomplete information. It’s transparency at its finest.

3. Enhanced Efficiency: Empower Business Users while Streamlining IT

We’ve explored how connected systems play a crucial role in delivering a comprehensive, 360-degree view of regular manufacturing workflows by allowing the seamless flow of data that would otherwise remain isolated within a diverse enterprise landscape. But integration can also provide consistent solutions to a wide range of end-users, significantly enhancing operations on and off the manufacturing floor. 

One of the standout advantages of deploying an iPaaS is its speed, which reduces the resources required for setting up new, or connecting old, systems and their corresponding integration requirements. A platform that offers an intuitive visual interface can allow for quick and easy adjustments without the heavy reliance on developers’ time. 

Furthermore, a solid iPaaS solution is designed to be low code, empowering business users to create integrations effortlessly through drag-and-drop functionality, user-friendly toolkits, and pre-built templates. For example, manufacturers can leverage integration to connect data with customers, opening up new opportunities and innovative possibilities, such as upselling, cross-selling, exploring new revenue streams, and tapping into new markets.

Sustainability: The Bonus Trend

Sustainability has evolved from a buzzword to a non-negotiable imperative for manufacturers. With environmental concerns and tightening regulations, the industry is under immense pressure to operate in an eco-friendly manner. Adopting integration, specifically an iPaaS, into your technology landscape can help to reduce energy consumption through real-time data collection from various machinery and processes within the manufacturing plant. By analyzing the data, you can pinpoint energy inefficiencies and take corrective action. For instance, sensors can monitor machine performance, and if there is a deviation from expected energy usage, your iPaaS can trigger automatic adjustments or alert operators, leading to significant energy savings over time. 

Another example of a smart factory is one that might integrate data from water usage sensors to track water consumption across different production lines. This data can then provide insight into inefficient use or wastage, conserving valuable resources and reducing the environmental footprint of a plant. 

The right integration solution can also automate the collection and aggregation of sustainability data from various sources within the manufacturing process. This ensures timely and accurate reporting, making it easier for manufacturers to comply with environmental regulatory requirements and meet their sustainability goals.

Integrate and Automate for Success

The iPaaS itself is no longer a trend; it’s a practical solution for manufacturers looking to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. With a solution like Software AG’s, you can streamline operations, provide exceptional customer experiences, and empower your workforce to make faster and smarter decisions – all while contributing to your operation’s positive impact on the environment.    

Integration is more than just technology. It’s a strategic asset that drives success in modern manufacturing.