The Truth About Industry 4.0 for Manufacturers

Industry 4.0 has many names, smart factory, IoT,  IIoT, digital thread, connected enterprise and more. But manufacturers don’t come to Fuuz® for Industry 4.0. They come because they have a problem.

The manufacturing consulting industry loves to create new words and shares them liberally on social media to describe what was once an elusive concept—the connected enterprise.

The Truly Connected Enterprise Defined

To put it simply, the truly connected enterprise is a place where people, processes, machines, software, ERP systems and MES solutions are all collecting and sharing data across the company and with global partners.

And that’s what Fuuz does.It solves complex manufacturing problems. Here’s how. Fuuz is a platform—a place where software, people, processes, machines and so on can exchange data. It is also a place where connector applications can be rapidly deployed to resolve very specific problems. No matter what problem manufacturers present to Fuuz, the root cause is a lack of connectivity. Let’s look at how far we’ve come and what remains to be done.

Where Did Industry 4.0 Come From?

Whether you call it Industry 4.0, IIoT or another term, this idea of enterprise-wide connectivity is the natural evolution of on-premise ERP software. The first use of the term ERP has been attributed to the Gartner Group in the 1990s. 

Before that, in the 1970s and ‘80s, manufacturers began to use MRPs or Material Requirements Planning systems, to better manage, track, and control inventory. 

‍In the 1990s, ERP systems expanded to include other departments such as accounting, sales, CRM, finance and others, paving the way for on-premise ERP solutions.‍ This more expansive software was great because it could  deliver anything, anywhere, anytime. But as global markets, suppliers and trading partners came to the forefront, it wasn’t easy for on-premise solutions to scale across an operation, multiple locations and time zones.  

Fast forward to the early 2000s and the arrival of SalesForce, the first all-in cloud SaaS solution delivered over the internet via secure, remote servers. By the mid to late 2000s, ERP solution vendors began to offer cloud SaaS (software as a service) ERP options, which have largely replaced on-premise solutions.  

Craig Scott on Why Today’s ERP Implementations Are Really Installations

“It’s not the same anymore as what it used to be with older, larger scale, on-premise ERP. Those truly were implementations that were led by very large implementation teams that spent 40-plus hours a week over the course of 18-24 months developing and designing the system to do everything you needed it to do perfectly. “Today’s ERP implementations are more like a data migration project. You have a handful of options for configurations that can be set up. If there isn’t an option to support your particular business process, then there just isn’t and you design a workaround. We’ve all been there.”
Craig Scott
President and CEO of MFGx

Designing and implementing a workaround takes time, IT resources and money. Before manufacturers know it, they have a bunch of workarounds, usually in the form of point solutions or bolt-ons.

Cloud SaaS software is built to serve a broad range of potential customer needs. This product design decision comes with built-in technical limitations that must exist in order to provide the service being offered.

I know so many customers that have so many bolt-ons. They started down this path of, ‘Hey, let’s do a Cloud ERP system because it’s going to eliminate so many complexities… it’s going to get us all on the same page, everyone singing from the same sheet of music.

Unfortunately, that ends up not being the case over time. You end up with four, five or six bolt-ons or point solutions, so you’re right back to where you were, only you’ve spent a tremendous amount of time, effort and frustration to get there.

Then buyers’ remorse sets in and manufacturers have a new problem—a problem that can only be solved by a completely different technology—an applications platform.”

The Fuuz Platform is the Anti-Bolt-On for ERP and MES

Fuuz replaces all point solutions and eliminates bolt-ons. We’re the anti-bolt-on and our customers are seeing a lot of value in that. 

The problem with point solutions is particularly evident in environments where bigger ERP systems are running. Companies use separate systems for warehouse management, MES, transportation, data warehouses, AI tools, IPaaS, mobile apps… then they still have their spreadsheets, databases and everything else. The list goes on and on.

“This is where the promise of Industry 4.0 connectivity is fulfilled. Everything exists on the Fuuz platform. And everything connects in the way it needs to so that your company, your business, your users are as efficient as possible. This is critical. And this is where the Fuuz platform shines.

The MPI Corp. Story

Fuuz has helped hundreds of manufacturers eliminate point solutions and achieve connectivity across their operations, and one of those customers is MPI Corp., a holding/investment organization with operating companies focused on the forming of metal components for the automotive, appliance, electrical distribution and consumer electronics industries.

Craig Scott and Mark McDonald, VP of Information Technology at MPI, recently got together to discuss MPI’s experience with the platform, as well as how things have changed since COVID-19, emerging business and technology trends and, of course, how MPI found solutions to their challenges with Fuuz.

If you’ve had enough of point solutions and ERP or MES solutions that fail to deliver connectivity, we get it, and MFGx wants to continue the conversation with you. Check out the “Industry 4.0 for Manufacturers” webinar to learn more about MPI’s experience with Fuuz and discover how Fuuz, the anti-bolt-on platform, is the one solution you need to eliminate point solutions.

After tuning into the webinar, you’ll probably have a few questions, including which ERP systems Fuuz can integrate with. The answer? There’s no limit. Fuuz offers standard connections for NetSuite, Plex, SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, QuickBooks, AS400s and Accumatica, but also has the ability to integrate with any ERP that has an API connector. Schedule a demo to see if it’s right for your business.