Campbell, CA September 10, 2001 Collaborative manufacturing execution (CME) solutions provider Camstar has released what the company calls its "vision" for Live Everywhere Manufacturing via the Virtual Factory Suite.
According to a statement by the company, "Live Everywhere Manufacturing optimizes the manufacturing assets of global companies and their suppliers by sharing live production information with enterprise applications and business systems throughout the extended enterprise and across the supply chain."
"Camstar provides the live information manufacturing enterprises need to be competitive," said Dave Cone, president and CEO of Camstar. "Through Live Everywhere Manufacturing, enabled by the Virtual Factory Suite, global manufacturers can see and manage multiple locations, processes and companies as a single virtual factory for the first time."
The Virtual Factory is designed to help companies control inventory, make changes to customer orders, manage capacity and improve yields across the distributed supply chain.
The Need For Live
In recent years, leading corporations have spent billions of dollars on enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) applications to manage critical business processes in real-time first within their own enterprises and, more recently, across their supply chains and customer markets. However, a vulnerable blind spot remains: ERP applications only report transactions that have already happened and SCM applications only plan and predict future activities, but neither system provides a live view of what is happening in manufacturing.
According to an article published by Vinay Asgekar, research director for high-tech and semiconductor in the August 29, 2001, AMR Research Alert titled "Distributed Manufacturing Needs a Private Manufacturing Exchange for Effective Execution": "The manufacturing chain is changing dramatically as high-tech companies acquire or outsource manufacturing assets. Companies need a consolidated view of the new distributed manufacturing operations. Managing business without such visibility is like wearing blinders in rush-hour traffic. Without global, enterprise-wide, real-time visibility, manufacturing execution is completely disconnected, resulting in poor delivery, lost market opportunities, and excess inventory, as was painfully evident in the last economic cycle.
"One reason for not having this unified view is the islands of business data," the report continued. "Demand data resides in the ERP systems; forecast and plans reside in planning systems; and manufacturing execution system (MES) applications control the actual manufacturing and shop-floor data. The second reason is the distributed manufacturing environment. Manufacturing assets were shuffled through divestitures, and manufacturing companies grew through their acquisitions, creating an environment of disparate shop-floor systems across different plants, which ERP systems are not capable of consolidating."
The Virtual Factory's applications deliver live information from across manufacturing networks to other enterprise and supply chain business systems, in order to improve collaboration and responsiveness. The applications also make information from distributed manufacturing processes available to the enterprise, and to suppliers and customers on a "need-to-know" basis.
"Performance pressures on manufacturing enterprises today are greater than ever," said Greg Gorbach, director of e-manufacturing at ARC Advisory Group. "They have to do more with less and do it faster. Manufacturing networks have to be more flexible and responsive to both a variable supply chain and changing customer needs. Camstar's Virtual Factory Suite enables companies to derive maximum performance from their production and human assets by making critical information easily and broadly available, dynamically aligning production priorities with real-time organizational objectives."
Customer Acceptance of the Virtual Factory Suite
Camstar Solutions Group, working with Camstar's other systems integration partners, is already implementing Live Everywhere Manufacturing and the Virtual Factory for such manufacturers as IBM and Corning.
"Camstar's Virtual Factory Suite provides the solution to build and support our next-generation manufacturing systems initiative," said Doug Anderson, chief information officer for Corning's Specialty Materials Division. "The information-driven world of high-tech manufacturing now demands systems that can operate in a distributed, real-time environment. Camstar understands our business, particularly the challenges in dealing with the coordination and execution of multi-plant resources.