Manufacturing software is evolving to 2.0, says study

Manufacturing software is evolving to support emerging standards and technologies such as service oriented architectures (SOAs) and Web 2.0, according to a study by AMR Research.

Manufacturing software is evolving to support emerging standards and technologies such as service oriented architectures (SOAs) and Web 2.0, according to a study by AMR Research.

The analyst firm identified elements that make up a new generation of manufacturing software, dubbed Manufacturing 2.0, which is needed to move companies towards a more demand-driven model.

The challenge for manufacturers, according to AMR Research, is that they have to deal with short product lifecycles as well as increasingly complex product configurations produced against short lead times to meet highly variable demand.

Manufacturing 2.0 also requires manufacturers to support a dynamic network that includes contract manufacturers and outsourced design partners, it said.

AMR research director, Colin Masson, said, "The global manufacturing community needs to recognise that force-fitting monolithic applications into manufacturing operations is costly, risky, and ultimately creates systems that hinder agility, defeating the original intent."

Manufacturing 2.0 requires user-centric interfaces designed to streamline activities and manufacturing architectures that take advantage of SOA. Masson said that manufacturing applications were usually optimised for single-site manufacturing. "They take too long to configure, deploy and manage change," he said.

To support SOA in manufacturing, Masson said manufacturing SOA would require an integrated set of tools that allow users to develop run-time code distributed across multiple platforms.

Manufacturers would need to install, invoke and orchestrate services that are evolving on different operating systems and hardware platforms. They must also collect and present data and tasks on various user interfaces and devices.

Another feature of Manufacturing 2.0 is its use of Web 2.0 technologies such as instant messaging, mashups, searches, wikis, low-cost tags and intelligent sensors. "This will engage younger generations in manufacturing as well as enhance software usability and collaboration," Masson said.

SOA can light up manufacturing IT >>

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