Integrating IoT Devices and Enterprise Resource Planning Software
February 26, 2020
Technology is transforming the way manufacturers do business. Across all verticals and types, new technologies are making it easier, safer and more efficient to manufacture products that consumers and businesses regularly use.
Keeping up with technological innovation is no easy task, however, and a manufacturer’s budget can quickly disappear when chasing the latest, newest device or platform. It is better to instead focus on those proven technologies being used today. This is particularly true when it comes to technologies leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT).
What is IoT?
At its core, IoT refers to every device connected to the internet. These devices communicate with each other to create a network of “things” that improve the lives of users and offer new business opportunities.
The most prominent example today is the creation of smart homes, or homes that use IoT technologies to simplify people’s lives. Imagine all the ways a person could use a smartphone to communicate with a thermostat, lighting system, garage or even a car. Each of these devices is a waypoint in the IoT ecosystem, all interconnected by the internet.
Right now there are more than 14 billion devices connected to the internet, with smartphones making up the majority. This interconnected market is only growing and is expected to exceed $1.6 trillion in worth by 2025, compared to $164 billion in 2018. Manufacturers that explore IoT technologies now will find themselves better prepared for the future.
How Does IoT Apply to Manufacturing?
You may have also heard of the IIoT – Industrial Internet of Things. Manufacturers are using IIoT devices to run additive manufacturing (3D printing) operations, create augmented and virtual reality exercises, manage autonomous vehicles and robots, and track data throughout their organization. The IIoT helps manufacturers make better decisions about factory maintenance and production line efficiency.
At Aptean, our Ross enterprise resource planning (ERP) software offers workflow-based IoT integration services with pre-defined processes that centralize and streamline data visibility. For example, Ross ERP automatically integrates drones with scanning devices and cameras to update inventory in real-time, and automatic weight or temperature sensors upload data directly into the ERP.
Aptean Ross ERP’s specialized capabilities help growing, mid-market process manufacturers reduce costs, increase efficiency and ensure industry compliance. Designed with simplicity of use in mind, it supports unique business requirements and processes, while also significantly improving production planning and efficiency, product costing, inventory and lot management, bi-directional traceability and recall capabilities.
Why A Leading Meat Manufacturer Uses Ross ERP & IoT Devices
A leading meat processing manufacturer utilizes our Ross ERP software to connect their IoT devices. Ross ERP helps them better monitor equipment, track inventory, perform manufacturing completions and display statistics and metrics for its shop floor. Ross ERP also provides a specific interface for maintenance technicians to log hours and materials.
This manufacturer utilizes IoT devices because they run on a single application and do not require any other resources or bandwidth. Likewise, hardware usage is restricted so the devices can only perform their designated operation. This keeps the shop running smoothly and eliminates the possibility of erroneous errors or potential mistakes.
When it comes to IoT connectivity, it’s critical to leverage an ERP system capable of integrating third-party applications and APIs. This enhances data tracking and visibility. For example, the process manufacturer uses ScaleIT to interface with shop floor scales and streamline the packing process. With ScaleIT, job information is automatically imported, validated, and the results shared with the user via Ross ERP.
This same manufacturer also uses BoxIT to streamline the weighing and labeling process. Their cases are manually packed by line operators. When the loaded case is placed on the scale, the application automatically transfers that data to thermal printers to print the label. The operator moves the case down the line, and when it reaches the appropriate point, the label is already created. During setup, operators enter the job number and all of the parameters, such as high and low case weights, which are pulled from Ross.
Finally, this meat processing manufacturer utilizes a labor tracking tool within Ross to become more efficient. The application assigns colors for each line so that when an employee logs in, they simply touch the correct color button on the screen and then scan or enter their badge number. This application then tracks employee efficiency, and that data is transferred to Ross ERP for analysis by supervisors and management.
Leveraging an ERP for IoT
In order to properly create and leverage an industrial IoT, it’s critical for manufacturers to have the proper ERP foundation in place – which is why many organizations turn to Aptean Ross ERP. Leveraging Ross ERP, they are able to integrate all of their IoT platforms and centralize data into one, easy-to-use system. By connecting all of your IoT devices to Ross ERP, you’re positioning yourself growth, efficiency and industry compliance.
To learn more about how Ross ERP is helping manufacturers plan for tomorrow’s challenges, reach out to us today.