We are excited to return to Hannover Messe in person this year between May 30, 2022 and June 2, 2022. The pandemic has been difficult for most manufacturers, and there are still many lingering challenges—yet, manufacturers are intent on digital transformation to drive resilience. There are several emerging trends that we believe are instrumental to manufacturers’ success in how they operate in 2022 and beyond.
At Hannover Messe this year, we will showcase how Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps manufacturers:
Transform work with advanced warehousing, robotics, and mixed reality.
Increase resilience with a predictive supply chain.
Manufacture and operate sustainably with minimal waste.
Based on a commissioned study with Forrester Consulting, more than 30 percent of manufacturing leaders face visibility challenges with inventory of raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods in the distributor network.1 Manufacturers are adopting a data-driven approach to improving operations, and doing so drives more focused improvements to systems and processes. But one-third of respondents surveyed note their organizations struggle with analyzing and applying the data to drive business and process improvements.
Visibility across operations is useful only if the manufacturers can use that data to drive action, hence the importance to driving both visibility and data improvements. Manufacturers are also keen to overcome distribution-related disruptions. Nearly half (48 percent) of manufacturing leaders expect distribution disruptions such as lack of carrier availability to increase.1 Demand fluctuations are at their peak, and so flexibility is paramount to meet this changing customer demand on time. However, this cannot come at the expense of front-line workers getting burnt out. It is an imperative to improve processes and conditions for frontline employees.
Lastly, environmental sustainability is a growing priority for manufacturing leaders to address in supply chain. Nearly one-quarter of leaders have improving sustainability metrics as a top digital transformation objective. As manufacturers transform, roughly 30 percent expect a reduced environmental impact as a result of their transformation efforts.1
Overcome disruptions and shortages with robotics and mixed reality
It is no secret that manufacturing operations have faced—and continue to grapple with—multiple sources of ongoing shortages and disruptions. From port congestion, shipping delays, and material and workforce shortages, to extensive and unforeseen swings in customer demand––today’s current challenges are as varied as they are persistent. However, these challenges have also given rise to innovative solutions capable of providing manufacturers and distributors with the capability to improve operations and overcome workforce shortages and skills gaps.
Robotics and automation are an attractive opportunity in this regard––one that is generating goodwill among industry professionals and driving increases in investment. Most manufacturing executives believe that automation will positively impact their sector. Concurrently, the number of robots sold in North America rose 28 percent in 2021, setting a record of approximately $2 billion in sales.2 These points provide the context for our first work transformation innovation that is helping manufacturers and distributors overcome workforce shortages: advances in warehousing with robotics.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is designed to incorporate robotics to improve the automation of warehousing functions. This robotic integration and automation capability allows organizations to rapidly stand up and tear down temporary and flexible warehouse capacities closer to their manufacturing sites. Ultimately, these innovations enable companies to support complex warehousing functions, improve warehouse productivity, and overcome workforce shortages.
Contributing to the workforce shortages that manufacturers face is the retirement of a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce and, to a lesser extent, normal attrition as workers move on to other roles or companies. The learning curve for new team members in a manufacturing environment can often be steep and challenging due to the complexity of numerous processes and machinery that must be operated. This can cause significant disruption to normal operations.
A key innovation that is helping manufacturers to overcome workforce shortages and close the talent gap is the application of mixed reality to accelerate the onboarding of new employees and rapidly upskill existing team members. Based on the Microsoft-commissioned Forrester Total Economic Impact (TEI) study, manufacturing organizations that have deployed mixed-reality solutions have reduced training time by 75 percent, at an average savings of $30 per labor hour.3
With Microsoft’s mixed-reality solutions, including Dynamics 365 Guides, HoloLens 2, and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, manufacturers can deliver interactive learning experiences that increase workforce efficiency and flexibility and improve workforce safety by providing hands-free work instructions directly in the field of vision during task execution. Let us see how Toyota Motor North America is boosting operational and training efficiency and scalability with Microsoft’s mixed-reality solutions.
Interested in learning more about how to improve on-the-job guidance or in the benefits of mixed-reality applications in manufacturing? Give our recent blogs, Improve on-the-job guidance with Dynamics 365 Guides and Azure Object Anchors and Watch how to improve on-the-job guidance with mixed reality a read.
Increasing resilience with visibility, insights, and orchestration
When organizations are slow to digitize, they lack the visibility to predict disruptions. They also lack the insights and agility to proactively mitigate these disruptions. At Hannover Messe, we will showcase our latest investments from Dynamics 365 that enhance end-to-end visibility of your supply chain and the production floor, enable flexible real-time planning, and optimize and automate fulfillment by seamlessly orchestrating business processes to proactively mitigate constraints.
These investments from Dynamics 365 are developed to help manufacturers become a composable enterprise. The capabilities are built such that they are interoperable with the manufacturer’s existing supply chain technology infrastructure. They unify data from disparate systems and leverage AI to drive actionable insights. With Microsoft Teams embedded within the Dynamics 365 supply chain portfolio, collaborating to achieve consensus with internal team members and external partners is more streamlined, quick, and almost in near real time.
Manufacturers can further add new revenue lines by moving from fixed revenue to recurring revenue by adding new service offerings. The Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management works seamlessly with Dynamics 365 Field Service so that manufacturers can predict and proactively maintain their customer’s assets.
Dynamics 365 can also integrate with other third-party manufacturing execution systems. This allows manufacturers to unify data in real time across multiple different systems and contextualize the transaction data you get from enterprise resource planning (ERP) and time series data you get from the production floor to proactively looks for inefficiencies and quality issues so that you can improve the overall equipment effectiveness. At the end of the day, these innovations empower manufacturers to create and run more agile and connected factories and more resilient supply chains.
Circular manufacturing advances sustainability
Manufacturers have diligently worked to minimize waste since the ascendancy of lean manufacturing techniques. Now, as the world, governments, and consumers increasingly focus on sustainability, the push is on for manufacturers to reduce another form of waste––carbon dioxide (CO2). The leading sustainability initiative that brands are investing in worldwide is circular economy or circular manufacturing. This allows customers to recycle products easily. By setting up reverse logistics flows that allow customers to recycle products, manufacturers can not only drive a more sustainable future that is aligned with evolving consumer expectations but can also realize cost savings by utilizing recycled materials to produce new goods.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management provides organizations with the platform and tools to design manufacturing systems, processes, and products for reuse, minimize waste and emissions, and introduce new revenue streams like subscriptions and buyback programs. At Microsoft, we use these solutions to help us keep our commitment to zero-waste and carbon-negative operations. Our pilot initiative is the Microsoft Circular Centers program, which facilitates the reuse and recycling of servers and hardware within our data centers. To date, the Circular Centers program has reduced carbon emissions by 14,500 metric tons CO2 equivalent.
With sustainability being a core focus for Microsoft, we are also pleased to announce the general availability of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability on June 1, 2022. Cloud for Sustainability solutions such as the Sustainability Manager gives organizations the ability to better manage their environmental footprint, embed sustainability throughout their value chain, and make strategic business investments that drive more value.
To learn more about strategies for overcoming disruptions and shortages while also improving sustainability through circular manufacturing strategies and Cloud for Sustainability solutions, see us at Hannover Messe.
Engage with Microsoft at Hannover Messe 2022
Register for Hannover Messe and visit the Microsoft booth Hall 4 Stand E34, where you can join guided tours and book meetings with Microsoft executives and manufacturing experts on hand to discuss how Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing brings together Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Power Platform capabilities that help:
Build more agile factories.
Transform your workforce.
Engage customers in new ways.
Create more resilient supply chains.
Unlock innovation and new services.
Secure manufacturing solutions from edge to cloud.
Accelerate your sustainability journey.
Sign-up to tour the Microsoft booth.
We will also be showcasing Dynamics 365 Customer Service, which brings the anytime, anywhere experience through the self-service capability for manufacturers.