Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to Solve Downtime Challenges to Manufacturing and Supply Chain Operations


NOTE: this white paper has been published by Vision solutions at IT Toolbox; I thought it would be great to share some of the important information here from the white paper.


Every manufacturer—from heavy-duty industrial and automotive to consumer products and packaged goods—faces one ongoing challenge: time. Time— all the delay and latency still remaining within your business processes— impacts every level of the organization, adds to your costs, saps your productivity and reduces profits. Ultimately, time reduces the value you can return to expectant shareholders.

Through relentless cost-cutting and deep investments in ERP, supply chain management and other technologies you've focused on achieving optimum performance—higher productivity and efficiencies to drive profit and value.

But as you continue those strategies, do more with less and drive revenue growth, shareholders want evidence of new value-producing opportunities. Meanwhile, an unprecedented wave of new regulations and the heightened awareness of corporate governance standards demand attention and investment.

It's up to you to meet these expectations and find and deliver new value while dealing with the challenges of change. This white paper explores how the power of an information availability solution can unlock the latent potential of your IT environment and deliver new value for your organization. It can enable your organization to immediately tap into the unused value—downtime—that exists within your IT infrastructure.

Bottom line: If your organization can minimize or eliminate planned downtime, it can free up specific, measurable (currently unrealized) potential to immediately support your productivity and profitability strategies. It also delivers opportunities for revenue and asset growth, new competitive positioning opportunities, M&A plans and customer-facing initiatives.


The Power of Information Availability: Transform Planned Downtime

An information availability solution unleashes the potential locked inside planned downtime, those hours each day or week when business process technology and applications are brought offline for maintenance, backups or reporting activities. This downtime occurs regularly in every organization, yet delivers zero value to your business and adds nothing to your bottom line. Just as important, an information availability solution delivers the optimum level of business resiliency in the event of an unplanned interruption (such as application, system failure or other disaster), especially important if your organization faces the latest

Federal compliance regulations. For example, each of the hundreds— even thousands—of interlocking,

dependent activities, components and decisions in the manufacturing process pose potential time delays.

More than ever, these interlocking tasks depend on information technology to complete on schedule.

A delay of even a few minutes at one stage will cascade into potential delays at other stages in the process.

What if you could eliminate a one-hour cumulative delay each week, caused by application, database or server downtime? You could immediately release unrealized potential and cost savings and speed up every stage in the manufacturing process. How much value would that deliver to your bottom line and shareholders?

An information availability solution can help you ensure that your IT processes become more closely aligned to your business goals. To that end, discussions with your IT executives should focus on finding the right combination of business and technical solutions to:


  • Liberate the unrealized value of current downtime from critical information technology that supports your business and information processes.


  • Minimize acceptable downtime and data loss for non-critical data and applications to deliver the maximum return for your organization.


High Availability: Food Wholesaler

Situation: A leading Italian beef producer with four factories responsible for over half of Italy's beef exports, must maintain constant vigilance over 550,000 animals passing through its slaughter houses annually. Its food safety tracking systems are their highest priority. The operation can only sustain minimal interruptions to accommodate high and growing data volumes across a diverse IT environment and changes to systems to meet legislative reporting requirements. An information availability solution now provides near continuous uptime and on-demand, flexible information accessibility.

Results: Transparent, seamless uptime should any unplanned event occur; 100 percent data protection; continuous ability to meet service level agreements (SLAs) and government tracking regulations regardless of any planned or unplanned event.



Unleashing the Responsive, Real-Time Enterprise

Studies show that over the last three years nearly 89 percent of manufacturers have increased supply chain capabilities, enabling them to catch up rather quickly with the leading improvement-driven companies. The accelerating pace of this "catch-up" window means that leading-edge manufacturers need to uncover every performance advantage to sustain growth initiatives. Meanwhile, mid-sized players need to find new competitive advantages.

An information availability solution can uncover and exploit unused value in your supply chain processes and throughout your organization. You'll find these unused opportunities in the full range of your business and IT infrastructure, including: front and back offices, go-to-market processes, partner and channel operations, product development and information exchange and collaboration. Many manufacturers of all sizes and across the globe have already discovered that, because information availability solutions minimize or completely eliminate both planned and unplanned downtime, they immediately boost

productivity, raise efficiency and make the organization more resilient, reliable and fully responsive no matter what happens. Some manufacturers have been more adept at this alignment of interests than

others. And more will be demanded in the next few years. Users always need more: more data, more data sharing, more applications, more processing time, more reports and more access. You need to demand more from your suppliers and seek more sourcing opportunities across the state, nation or globe. Customers want more choices, more convenience, more access points and more flexibility. Shareholders want to see more value, higher profits, greater efficiencies and more return for every dollar spent. You need the ability to ensure that IT can and will continue to deliver on these goals with resilience and reliability. That's why it's important to make "information availability" a key issue in discussions with your IT executives.

Highly Available Products

Situation: An innovative plastics manufacturer with $1 billion (US), 3,300 employees and 9 manufacturing plants on two continents, operates around the clock using a critical SAP application to meet customer orders, receive just-in-time raw materials and monitor essential processes throughout its operations. While data and applications need to undergo periodic reorganization, the business cannot afford to wait with downtime costs of $125,000 (US) per hour. An information availability solution was able to bridge multiple servers for optimal resource management and near continuous uptime.

Results: Savings of (US) $3 million annually in eliminated downtime; 100 percent data protection; transparent, seamless uptime should an unplanned event occur, which supports SLAs with customers.



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