In today’s increasingly complex and fast-paced markets, manufacturers are under great pressure to boost their output while minimising costs, ensuring quality, and enabling product personalisation at the same time. Thus, it comes as no surprise that a lot of manufacturing organisations across different industries are gradually adopting the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) as a robust solution that delivers control over operations and real-time visibility in support of greater optimisation and agility.
Read on to find out more about the MES solution and what essential steps your business should follow to ensure a great return on your MES investment and to develop the necessary buy-in to move the project ahead.
What is MES?
An MES is an extensive, dynamic software system that tracks, monitors, documents, and controls the entire process of product manufacturing, from raw materials to finished goods. Basically, an MES provides a functional layer between process control systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) that gives corporate decision-makers the data they need to improve the efficiency of their plant floor and optimise their production.
An example of an excellent MES platform that manufacturers should invest in is the TrakSYS software, which has the ability to monitor, control, and optimise manufacturing operations as well as increase production efficiency. With a series of configurable features that are consistent with the Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) standard structure, the TrakSYS platform enables manufacturers to deploy their MOM solutions in a quick and cost-effective manner.
Crucial Steps to Follow to Ensure the Return on Your MES Investment
Step 1: Perform a business case justification evaluation
The first critical step in building a comprehensive business case is to perform a careful evaluation of your organisation’s ‘present case,’ touching on tactical, strategic, and operational dimensions, with a view of contrasting and developing the business advantage once the future-case MES is to be implemented. Here is a closer look at each aforementioned dimension:
- Tactical: The tactical evaluation involves closely collaborating with crucial stakeholders throughout your organisation to come up with a clear definition of your solution requirements, data insights, machine capabilities, and more. A helpful tactical evaluation should attain an understanding of the everyday realities that every critical stakeholder faces. It must involve data modeling, benchmarking, and baselining.
- Strategic: As part of the strategic evaluation, it is important to analyse the reasons behind your MES implementation, its potential advantage for your business, the required resources and projected timeline, the indirect and direct costs associated with the implementation, and any possible risks. An effective strategic evaluation should include feasibility studies, KPIs, gap analyses, variance analyses, and more.
- Operational: The operational evaluation looks at how end-users will make concrete use of the solution, including the areas wherein they will obtain the most substantial value. A useful operational evaluation should involve meticulous blueprinting, project prioritisation, process mapping, and an advanced understanding of business rules.
Step 2: Identify critical financial and operational metrics
Once your business evaluation is done, it is then time to concentrate on both financial and operational metrics. Crucial metrics targeted for enhancement through the implementation of your MES solution may include customer currency, yields, increased throughput, minimised costs and waste, regulatory and recall risk prevention, quicker cycle times, and more.
When combining these data, it is important to quantify your existing inefficiencies, pain points, and waste carefully. How can you minimise and get rid of these inefficiencies, pain points, and wastes throughout your MES implementation? This process comes with no shortcut, but the more extensive your solution is, the better your business case will be.
Additionally, it is necessary to keep in mind that ‘soft’ costs are also an essential element of your potential advantage. Be sure to analyse areas wherein you can lessen expenses by lowering future costs. Your financial statements are not likely to reflect these areas of savings, but they are quantifiable and convincing.
Step 3: Come up with a solid investment plan
Your business evaluation and metrics are both necessary. However, in order to achieve real transformation, your business case must not stop there. Another indispensable aspect of your business case is ensuring your investment. Basically, this addresses who shall be in charge of the Organizational Change Management (OCM) within your company.
As a cross-functional group, it is important for your OCM team to include release managers, project leaders, performance managers, and process coordinators. Moreover, an effective OCM necessitates clear communication so that the whole organisation understands the strategy and vision behind your MES implementation. While not all employees learn and adopt technology at the same pace, an efficient OCM approach makes sure that every worker has the knowledge and training they need.
An MES solution affects numerous areas of business, benefitting a plethora of diverse stakeholders. Although the benefits of an MES are compelling, creating an extensive MES business case to obtain leadership buy-in can seem like an arduous task. That said, by following the essential steps discussed in this article, you can more clearly articulate the return on your MES investment and develop the necessary buy-in with relative ease.
If you are in search of the most thorough MES platforms to help optimise your manufacturing operations and increase your production efficiency, Allied Solutions is here to assist you! We offer a wide variety of premium industrial manufacturing solutions and automation systems that are greatly useful for businesses across different sectors. Among our best offers are Parsec’s TrakSYS, GE’s Proficy Historian, data diodes by ST Engineering, and more. Feel free to contact us now to learn more.
Nowadays, it is necessary for companies of all types and sizes to prioritise cybersecurity, especially as the number of cybersecurity threats and their sophistication increase by the day. As a matter of fact, many companies in Singapore deal with an average of 54 cybersecurity incidents on a day-to-day basis, with 39% facing 50 to 200 such incidents each day.
These cybersecurity attacks can lead to enormous losses of up to 10% of a company’s revenue. As such, companies must strengthen their cyber defence and enhance the security of their data in order to avoid catastrophic losses. They need to adopt a multifaceted information security strategy that covers networks, applications, servers, cloud, workstations, and data.
For instance, in Singapore, data diodes are increasingly becoming popular in view of the rising cases and complexity of cybersecurity threats. Data diode by ST Engineering specifically ensures businesses that their data is safe from leakage by separating the power supply to prevent side-channel attacks. In other words, data diodes guarantee unidirectional information exchange as a way to protect confidential data and sensitive systems.
To better understand why it is important for every business to amplify their cybersecurity measures, read on as this article enumerates some of the major implications of not having a robust information security strategy.
Among the most common schemes used by black hat hackers is to infiltrate and access the system and core datasets of a company, and then later on ask for ransom money. Most of the time, this results in the shutting down of the company’s whole IT infrastructure and crucial business systems to isolate the damage, investigate, and facilitate recovery.
For companies with no basic disaster recovery procedures, recuperating from the cyberattack and recovering their lost data may take a few weeks or even months. These disruptions to the operations of a business can adversely affect productivity and have a trickle-down impact, i.e., clients may eventually leave the company, thereby resulting in additional revenue loss.
Whether directly or indirectly, all cyberattacks can adversely impact the company’s finances in various shapes and forms. Among the primary considerations are business loss, efforts in containing the breach or attack, legal fines and fees, payouts as compensation to customers, and potential reduction in share price, which is even more for publicly listed companies.
Data breaches usually come with long-lasting implications on businesses in the form of lower sales moving forward and client abandonment. A classic example of this is the 2017 Equifax data breach in which over 140 million individuals were affected, leading to a total of $380 million in compensation funds. Oftentimes, businesses that suffer a major data breach go out of business for a couple of months or even indefinitely.
Data breaches involving the personal information of a company’s clients, partners, or prospects can result in lawsuits. Over the past couple of years, these kinds of lawsuits have been regularly featured in business and technology news across the world. Not only are they costly, but they can also affect a company’s operations, finances, and overall survival.
Lawsuits can essentially impact a business in several ways, such as incurring unplanned, hefty legal fees, minimising its attractiveness in the eyes of top talents, lowering people’s trust and confidence in its offerings, and tarnishing its reputation. If the affected company engages in a regulated business, they may even be restricted from carrying out certain operations until the conclusion of legal investigations.
Not having a solid information security strategy exposes a business to numerous risks that can have devastating after-effects in the areas of operations, finances, and legal compliance. For this reason, it is quite necessary for every company to protect themselves against malicious attacks by taking appropriate preventive measures and strengthening their overall cyber defence, especially in today’s information age.
Should you require powerful information security solutions to help protect your organisation from data breaches and other cybersecurity threats, Allied Solutions is here to assist you! We have a team of seasoned experts who can help you find the ideal cybersecurity solutions that meet your specific industrial needs.
Aside from cybersecurity solutions, we offer other products and services that are designed to help improve your business processes and increase your profit, such as Parsec’s TrakSYS Software, GE’s Proficy Historian, Stratus’ everRUN, Kepware’s KEPserverEX, and many more. For more information, do not hesitate to reach out to us anytime.
Today, manufacturers face many challenges that warrant the accelerated digitalization of operations by adopting new technologies and process innovations. This transformation is key to ensuring better resilience, agility, productiveness, and profitability in these ever-turbulent times.
But to achieve this, organizations must wholly shift their focus towards digital transformation and put significant time and effort into it. Having all hands-on deck in this endeavor is the only way to truly reap the transformative advantages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which are essential to any manufacturer’s growth and survival, and be ready for the future. Furthermore, there is no better time than now to rethink the digital manufacturing infrastructure and reshape it to create more resilient, collaborative, connected, and highly-integrated operations.
Navigating The Many Disruptions of Recent Years
The manufacturing sector is currently laden with numerous disruptions bearing significant financial and operational ramifications, both negative and positive. For one, they have prompted manufacturers to reimagine their contingency plans, risk management, safety protocols, and general operations and discover new ways of working simultaneously.
At the same time, there is a growing need for businesses to become more future-proof by leveraging the latest technological advances. The end goal is to improve resilience, which entails protecting daily operations, supporting employees, and sustaining a competitive edge that facilitates continued growth. After all, manufacturers that have accessible data, digital platforms, and advanced capabilities in their toolbox are better able to quickly respond in the face of disruptions.
Industry 4.0’s Key Technology Drivers
Industry 4.0 is now here, and digital technologies drive such transformation across the manufacturing sector. Hence, organizations must identify which products are most critical for their growth and stabilization and can aid them in meeting demand in the short-term and in the future. The primary Industry 4.0 technologies in play to consider are:
- Augmented/Virtual Reality
- Additive Manufacturing
- Autonomous Machines
- Cloud Technology
- Cognitive Computing
- Digital Twin
- Industrial Software
- Industrial Internet of Things
Implementing the above leads to a multitude of advantages, including improved flexibility, shorter TTM, greater quality, and increased efficiency, throughput, productivity, and profitability. As such, adopting these technologies grants a springboard that simplifies achieving future manufacturing success. That said, be sure to include technologies based on the value they add to the business and holistically evaluate them for interoperability and ensure maximum gain.
Enabling the Future of Industry 4.0 Transformation
The four key enablers that will shape Industry 4.0’s future include digitalization, decentralization, sustainability, and business models, which are underpinned by the need to increase resilience and decrease the customers’ financial risk.
- Digitalization – this transformation is more than simply going beyond leveraging technologies to convert processes and data but rather changing business models and providing new revenue opportunities while also tearing down disparate information silos at the same time.
- Decentralization – this process simplifies the flow of information and processes through monitoring and ease of access, with examples being blockchain, ops decentralization, and edge computing.
- Sustainability – emphasizes using green and efficient energy usage models through processes like repurposing, recycling, and reusing materials.
- Business Models – these outline better ways to achieve business outcomes by exploring additional capabilities and transforming the current models of operation. Some core examples are the shared economy, Data-as-a-Service, and XaaS (Anything-as-a-Service).
Navigating Key Shifts Here & Now
Manufacturers must realize several significant changes today to make sure their digital infrastructure is fit for their desired long-term agility and resilience. These changes rewrite the existing rules and open up the market for innovative solutions.
- Cognition from automation
With the help of AI, automation is gradually evolving into cognition. The true value of this frontier technology is identifying areas for improvement in processes by uncovering causal relationships that people would otherwise overlook.
- Prioritizing contextualization
Manufacturing facilities have volumes of data points about everything in their environment. But simply having such data does not suffice and needs to become meaningful. Otherwise, Industrial IoT (IIoT) is consigned to massive data lakes that serve no real value. As such, shifting to contextualization from basic connectivity is key to enabling true IIoT.
- Shifting to an integrated value chain
Following the data, not the product, is key in manufacturing. Hence, the linear value chain is shifting towards a more integrated and circular value chain where the end-to-end data thread comes into the equation. The data management strategies that arise, in turn, will provide the greatest opportunity for value creation.
- Ultimate personalization and adaptability
The future favors organizations that have built up their agility and resilience. Undoubtedly, the trend towards personalized products is pervading every aspect of the manufacturing industry, and thus companies should consider technologies that natively support Automate-To-Order capabilities. This ability to provide adaptability and personalization on demand will provide a unique competitive edge to those geared to meet the increasing demand for quality and personalized products.
Industry 4.0 is transforming how we design, create, source, supply, and service. The reactive, disjointed, and linear ways of the past now give way to a predictive, integrated, and circular future of industrial manufacturing.
If your organization is gearing up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Allied Solutions can assist you with the digital enablement you need to reach your goal. We provide an array of automation and industrial manufacturing solutions that builds resilience and fuels rapid change in your manufacturing operations, including ST Engineering Data Diode, GE Proficy Historian, TrakSYS software, and more. Contact us today to learn how our products and services can enhance your business processes.
As digitalization continues unabated across industries, it becomes all the more important to keep cyberattacks at bay and ensure they do not impede its progress. One such area of concern regarding digitalization is protecting the classified or sensitive information that now flows abundantly in a given organization.
Data diodes in Singapore help address this need to secure information by enabling a hardware-enforced and secure one-way data transfer that safeguards information transmission between segmented networks. By imposing a physical gap in the information exchange process that electronic tools cannot overcome, unlike in digital countermeasures such as MFA, biometrics, and advanced RBAC, data diodes rank among the most effective and robust cybersecurity solutions today. Below are some of the many security problems they help to prevent.
Transmitting critical files or information from, say, a system to an administrative office network bears many security risks. One way to mitigate these risks is by pointing a data diode from the high-security network to a lower-security one, enabling a one-way data transfer between the two while protecting the former network. This approach guarantees that no malicious actors can use the data connection in the opposite direction, effectively barring them from ever gaining access to the sensitive network.
Conversely, data diodes can also be directed towards sensitive networks to gather information from another network. The usual risk here stems from how information is collected through this channel while preventing data leakage from your sensitive network. Thankfully, data diodes help ensure this much-needed network confidentiality and prevent leaks from occurring.
Traceability and logging in security-sensitive operations
Centralized log collection in secure systems increases the risk of attacks, which can be effectively reduced by using a solution that safeguards both log information and all connected systems involved. Modern IT systems now create logs that facilitate traceability and troubleshooting, and collecting as many of them from the multiple different connected systems into the central system is essential to analyze and get the most out of them.
Thus, organizations with zoned or security-sensitive systems that want to introduce centralized log collection face a built-in goal conflict: having a common system for all zones/subsystems means reaping logging benefits but increases the risk of all kinds of cyberattacks. Data diodes can eliminate this risk in a centralized log collection system by placing them in every zone or network that delivers log information, turning their data flow strictly unidirectional.
A common log system can thus be implemented no matter how many zones deliver data to it. Should any of the zones house sensitive information, the central log system must have the same protections at the corresponding level of confidentiality, or the zone itself must filter out the log information it sends. It is important to note that the latter option may decrease the log’s value due to the free text data often getting filtered out as well, making it more difficult to interpret the log information.
Updates are paramount to ensure system stability and security because of the inherent bugs found in highly complex software like operating systems and programs within ICS/SCADA systems. However, implementing these updates can pose a security risk if not done correctly. And since the availability and integrity of these systems need to be maintained at all times, updates may often not be sufficiently evaluated in the environments they are used in or in combination with the apps they run.
Data diodes can aid in pushing these updates securely with their one-way communication that imports the information into the system without allowing traffic into the opposite direction, eliminating the possibility of information leakage ever occurring.
Data diodes, with their hardware-based security features, help achieve segmentation and absolute confidentiality between networks, enabling organizations to solve a myriad of security problems in their IT/OT environments and significantly improve their cybersecurity posture.
Allied Solutions provides total industrial automation solutions that help make your organization’s digitization efforts seamless and successful. We supply a wide range of security products, from manufacturing execution systems to IT and OT cybersecurity solutions designed to advance your operational productivity. To learn more about our ST Engineering data diode solutions or other products, such as TrakSYS software, GE Proficy Historian, OPSWAT, and more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Cybersecurity threats have increasingly become more rampant and sophisticated these days. As such, there is also a need for more cybersecurity technologies that can effectively overcome threats and combat cyberattacks. Among the most common cybersecurity technologies being adopted by many companies or organisations today are data diodes and firewalls.
These two solutions are considered complementary since data diodes deliver additional security measures for network segments that are especially vulnerable. However, by looking into more detail, one can clearly determine that data diodes and firewalls have absolutely different concepts. Read on to learn more about the difference between data diodes and firewalls, and why the former is the superior cybersecurity technology.
Differentiating Data Diodes From Firewalls
The term “firewall” is often associated with the physical barrier that is installed in vehicles and buildings to obstruct the spread of fire from one area or section to the next. However, in cybersecurity, a firewall is a network security device that tracks and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic in accordance with the previously set security policies of an organisation.
Firewalls are implemented by flexible code and configuration that effectively slow down threats but do not necessarily stop them. Most of the time, especially with extra inspection capabilities, a firewall provides a software barrier that is enough to halt minor threats only. However, modern cyberthreats are becoming more sophisticated, with intricate and coordinated attacks from several angles occurring all at once. Firewalls were not designed to stop these types of threats completely.
On the other hand, hardware-enforced data diodes were specifically created to physically isolate networks from external threats by providing an air-gap between them. A data diode is basically a unidirectional network communication device that allows the secure, one-way transmission of data between segmented networks. In Singapore, data diodes are in-demand in different industries due to the effective security they bring.
The lack of configurable and routable connectivity in data diodes minimises their flexibility to an extent, but it also brings more edge to their security profile. Complex threats can use persistent and coordinated tactics to overcome multi-factor authentication, passwords, biometrics, and advanced RBAC, but jumping the physical gap in data diodes using electronic tools continues to be impossible. As such, data diodes remain one of the most robust cybersecurity technologies available today.
Specific Factors That make Data Diodes Better than Firewalls
In terms of security, there is really no questioning that data diodes are more secure than firewalls. Data diodes are physically implemented with a hardware-based security mechanism that enables them to deliver absolute confidentiality and segmentation between networks.
Meanwhile, firewalls are effectuated by configurable code and policy that make them prone to misconfiguration, zero-day exploits, and software bugs. Moreover, data diodes provide protection from the unknown, which cannot be provided by firewalls and other software-based security tools. These data diodes do not require regular maintenance or patching to remain secure, and the effectiveness of their enforcement mechanism is not reduced over time.
Firewalls are known for having sophisticated communication capabilities that make them the standard network security solution. When data diodes were introduced, many people questioned whether they could meet the same capabilities as firewalls. The short answer to this question is yes.
Several providers, such as Allied Solutions, invest years of engineering and intelligent design to build a communication facilitation software layer on top of data diodes’ patented hardware platform. This complex layer of compatibility, functionality, and connectivity enables data diodes to deliver a solution that has both excellent security and comparable communication capabilities.
3. Physical vs. Virtual Segmentation
As with a physical firewall, software firewalls are not able to provide a true separation between network segments but instead act as a virtual barrier to potential threats. As such, cyberthreats are likely to break through eventually, especially if given sufficient time and severity.
On the other hand, since a data diode separates a network into two parts, an attacker would need to physically carry the threat from the affected segment over to the other in order for it to reach the protected segment. For this reason, data diodes are considered to have better and more secure segmentation than firewalls.
There are many reasons why data diodes are superior to software firewalls. Whether in terms of security, capabilities, or segmentation, data diodes offer better advantages that make them the ultimate cybersecurity solution today. Furthermore, in comparison to firewalls, data diodes are far easier to install and maintain, are available in a wide array of options, and can be purchased at competitive price points. Ultimately, data diodes provide a highly trusted, unhackable security that businesses should leverage.
If you are looking for the most reliable data diode in Singapore to better protect your networks and enhance your cybersecurity posture, Allied Solutions is the provider you need! Allied Solutions offer the most premium automation systems and industrial manufacturing systems that are suitable for numerous industries, such as data diode by ST Engineering and TrakSYS software by Parsec. Feel free to contact us today for more information.
As industrial sectors ramp up the digitization of their operations to stay ahead of the competition, executives now have a sharpened focus on enterprise-wide cybersecurity. That said, the IT/OT convergence process exposes many critical systems to a high risk of cybercriminals exploiting them.
The SANS 2021 OT/ICS Cybersecurity Survey reveals that 70% of respondents claimed their OT environments were at high or severe risk, a significant increase from 51% in 2019. Meanwhile, 48% were unsure if their organizations had been compromised or not in the past year. Although IT breaches make for better headlines, OT breaches are far more devastating, as successful attacks could potentially lead to physical harm, injury, and death.
With that said, let us get to know the vital roles of OT security in the digital transformation journey of industrial organizations worldwide.
1. Fingerprinting and mapping assets
Organizations undertaking digital transformation focus on three key steps to achieve their goal:
- Identifying and safeguarding critical assets
- Planning and implementing a holistic cybersecurity transformation focusing on IT/OT SOC integration
- Improving operational efficiency and preventative maintenance
We cannot manage what we cannot see, so gaining visibility into the organization’s vital assets and networks is a critical first step. However, this area poses many challenges. For instance, IT teams face great difficulty getting a real-time view of OT assets since they can span a large geographical footprint.
Also, most OT environments are still made up of legacy equipment that may be sensitive to various types of network traffic. This sensitivity often means that even commonly used IT solutions can disrupt these devices and disrupt the safety of plant operations or, at worst, create major outages.
Overcoming these challenges requires an OT security and visibility solution, preferably those built specifically for ICS/OT environments. First, it should primarily provide comprehensive OT asset inventorying and network visualization without risking ongoing industrial processes. Second, the solution must be capable of delivering robust and real-time OT threat monitoring that shortens the mean time between detection and response.
OPSWAT NEURALYZER™ is one solution that fits the bill. It gives full visibility into the organization’s OT assets and networks through continuously discovering and monitoring assets, threats, vulnerabilities, supply chain violations, and non-compliance issues.
2. Integration into the security operations center (SOC)
Industrial systems in the past were rarely considered high risk given that they were not connected to the internet or enterprise systems and only operated in isolation. Since that is no longer the case today, OT integration into SOC is no longer optional due to the ever-increasing cyber risk to OT technology.
There are many benefits to making this integration happen in an enterprise-level SOC, such as:
- The sooner threats are identified (which often originate in IT systems) in the initial stages of the cyber ‘kill chain’, the sooner they can be eliminated.
- Speed up response times by improving communication between OT and IT teams.
- Reduce costs by having one comprehensive SOC instead of multiple and disparate ones.
Organizations can take a page from the U.S. government’s method of addressing these points through their Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program. This CDM program proves that it is possible to integrate OT into SOC and roll out enterprise-wide cybersecurity initiatives.
Besides implementing a CDM program, organizations can also implement a number of best practices to better unify their OT and IT, namely:
- Adopt compliance-led initiatives, such as regulatory and compliance alignment, capacity review, and SIEM architecture.
- Implement cyber threat intel capability uplift and other related intel-driven planning methods.
- Conduct assessments through simulation exercises, technical and executive tabletop exercises, and cyber defense readiness.
These initiatives and more like it helps organizations identify their strengths, uncover opportunities for improvement, and create a roadmap to become more resilient and cyber-secure.
3. Enable preventative maintenance
Organizations can leverage the improved asset visibility from step one to identify the root cause of problems in their operations. The rich device data they generate helps eliminate blindspots and allow businesses to quickly get to the root cause of OT issues, whether operational or security-based, and solve them without delay.
Take, for instance, an energy company that adds new equipment to its network and misconfigures them during installation. This error causes network congestion in their OT environment that slowly increases over time, reducing equipment lifespan and output while raising operating costs and the amount and extent of repairs.
Businesses can avoid such issues through preventative maintenance via condition-based monitoring, a maintenance strategy that monitors devices continuously to monitor their condition, like degradation, wear, and other relevant changes. Using sensors to stay on top of remote assets provides key data from which one can derive useful insights on reducing the mean time between failure and repair. One might say this approach does not fully qualify as predictive, yet it is still a big help in identifying issues as they develop and enable operators to perform proactive maintenance.
Predictive maintenance keeps predictable problems from popping up. In OT environments, these issues can cost industrial organizations millions of dollars. Thus, asset visibility and its impact on predictive maintenance are truly game-changing, including reduced costs, vastly improved uptimes, fewer safety risks, and extended equipment lifespan.
The move towards digitalization is sweeping across various industries worldwide, including the industrial and critical infrastructure sectors. But with this trend comes new threats and vulnerabilities that could impact OT technology, many of which were built decades ago and are not designed for secure network connection. As such, it is vital to incorporate OT security into the digital transformation journey and keep it up to date with modern standards.
If you need assistance digitizing your organization’s operations, Allied Solutions can provide you with the total industrial automation solutions you need to succeed. From IT and OT cybersecurity solutions to manufacturing execution systems, we supply a wide range of products that can advance the productivity of your manufacturing operations. To learn more about our OPSWAT solutions or other products, such as GE Proficy Historian, ST Engineering Data Diode, and more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Today, manufacturers have a range of tools and strategies at their disposal when it comes to enhancing operations, especially in their production processes. Scheduling is a prime example, along with the software that facilitates it. Read on to learn more about manufacturing scheduling software in Singapore, its importance in the industry, and the differences between production scheduling and production planning.
Manufacturing Scheduling Software Defined
Manufacturers leverage production schedules to create a timeframe for their production processes. It acts as a calendar that details each aspect of the production cycle. This schedule promotes accountability and ensures key tasks are accomplished on time and within the deadline.
Furthermore, it facilitates better resource management as the right employees, equipment, machinery, and materials can all be in the right place at the right time with total visibility of the exact timings of every stage of production. This is where manufacturing scheduling software comes in to enhance this process. With this digital system in place, it becomes easier to manage all the variables that go into a production schedule, which would otherwise be very difficult without technological assistance.
Main Challenges Behind Production Schedule
A manufacturing production schedule involves key factors that can cause negative outcomes if managed poorly, but effective production scheduling software can help mitigate these risks. Below are a few of the common challenges that affect scheduling:
1. Unreliable suppliers
Sourcing raw materials from suppliers that are far from consistent throws any good production schedule in disarray. Even a delay of a day or two could lead to a massive setback in production. As such, engaging reputable suppliers is a must.
It can be tempting for businesses to be overly optimistic in their capacity since they all want to generate as much income as possible. However, taking on too much workload and filling the calendar to the maximum can cause the opposite effect of reduced revenue.
This is because such an approach has the propensity of overworking the workforce, causing discontentment and an inevitable drop in performance. Overuse of equipment will also lead to a higher risk of damage that hampers production. If these occur, it will prove extremely difficult for manufacturers to keep up with the demand they have committed to.
Any deviations from the intended course in the production cycle could create ripple effects detrimental to the supply chain. For instance, certain equipment could break down unexpectedly, causing production to extend beyond the expected schedule. With these possibilities in mind, using a flexible system that can quickly account for such changes is vital.
The sheer complexity of production schedules—with their many moving parts and numerous different configurations—poses many manufacturing challenges. Hence, it can be difficult to determine the best route possible, and a single poor decision is all it takes to cause a substantial drop in performance.
5. Lack of cohesion
A lack of integration between the separate components of the organisation presents the potential for ambiguity and contradiction to mar their production schedule. Therefore, regular interaction with an easy flow of information must occur between everything involved in the process. Otherwise, employees will not have a uniform idea of what and when things are happening and risk the whole operation.
How Manufacturing Scheduling Software Solves These Problems
A tried-and-true manufacturing scheduling solution like Parsec Automation’s Traksys software can easily deal with the abovementioned complexities. It achieves this by taking into account all data related to production and generating the best possible schedule according to the available resources and urgency of different deliverables. The other benefits of this system include the following:
1. Faster turnaround times
Manufacturers can expect reduced downtimes and far less hesitance by having an optimal schedule for all aspects of their production. Their manufacturing processes will be quick and continuous, resulting in greater output and shorter cycles.
2. Correct material quantities
Clarity on when and where things are happening allows for exactness in determining the number of materials necessary for each upcoming production cycle. Less guesswork in this area means better odds of maintaining sensible numbers, eliminating the risk of having too few or too many materials.
3. Higher revenues
Larger output in a shorter amount of time means being able to take on a greater demand. Thus, manufacturers who can reliably commit to a greater workload will naturally be able to generate more sales that lead to higher revenues and improved profitability.
4. Better visibility
Better employee visibility starts with a centralised pool of schedule-related data that creates a single source of truth accessible in a single location. This inevitably promotes synchronisation and avoids confusion since everyone involved in production has the same information, and machinery will unlikely be overworked.
5. Fewer errors
Since correcting scheduling mistakes can cost a lot of time, production scheduling software mitigates the room for human error thanks to its automation capabilities fueled by accurate data. A smart system can consider existing schedules, inventory levels, sales orders, and many other variables to present the best solution with the least drawbacks.
6. Improved customer satisfaction
With all the advantages mentioned previously, there should be fewer delays and bottlenecks in production. Manufacturers can meet their promises consistently, their customers are regularly in the loop regarding the status of their orders, and products are delivered on time. All of these results in greater buyer satisfaction, making clients more likely to continue doing business with the manufacturer and even spreading the word about their good experience.
Manufacturing scheduling software is key to empowering manufacturers by granting them a high level of control over their operations. As an all-encompassing business management solution, it also connects production planning activities to the organisation’s stock, sales, and accounting information, facilitating easy automation.
If you want to enhance your production scheduling process with this revolutionary digital system, Allied Solutions provides all the effective industrial manufacturing solutions and automation systems you need – ranging from data diode in Singapore to data historisation platforms. Contact us today to learn how our products and services can enhance your business processes.
Data drives our digital world. In the corporate sphere, keeping up with data management is essential to industrial manufacturing and software aid. Data historisation offers this support with a list of features that allow you to easily manage, monitor, and control your businesses.
1. Easy data collection
Data historisation enables companies to efficiently collect information such as machine pressure, temperature, and measurements for analysis. This makes advancing certain variables easier and facilitates quality control and product assurance.
A data historisation platform can expedite the collection of these factors without room for human error. This saves time for those checking these numbers and completes more work accurately in a much shorter time than manual checking would allow. The logs within the historian will also enable regular monitoring, checking performance over time and making identifying patterns effortless.
At Allied Solutions, our GE Proficy Historian offers on-site and cloud-based storage, simplifying your time-series and Alarms & Events (A&E) data collection. With high-powered industrial advancements, Proficy Historian can collect data rapidly and remotely, storing and distributing information with accurate trend analysis.
2. A visual aid
Data historisation allows for information collected to be categorised, giving context to numbers. Most data historians provide a visualisation option through charts and graphs. Manual categorisation can be complex, so these historians do the work for you, turning raw data into real-time value.
Highly beneficial for corporate use, these groupings make monitoring trends for product management easy and concise. This allows for timely data production that enables companies to see relationships between data groups accurately. Companies can also analyse patterns between machinery and production practices that they would have originally not grouped together, allowing for a more thorough analysis and innovative improvements to automation.
3. Improved product quality
As data historians can log the batch times of products made, monitoring the production period and exact timestamps is made easy. This makes pinpointing and narrowing reasons for potential quality decreases more efficient. Production can be maximised by quickly nipping problems in the bud, minimising the number of faulty batches made.
This benefit is also cost-effective, with not only a yield of more products in the long run but also less time and money spent on relieving production issues. Employees can also be informed of mishaps speedily for quick mitigation and manual plans made on proactively improving production processes.
4. Strong data retention
Data historians can forward data. When working with both local and remote facilities, this is important to maximise the collection of your collective data. Problems arise when the connection between an on-premise historian and a remote database is interrupted. Data can get lost in transmission with no form of recovery,
With a data historian, this data can be stored locally until the connection is working again. It can then be forwarded to a central server, allowing companies to retain all their collected information so there are no missing gaps within their data analysis.
Allied Solution’s Proficy Historian offers both remote operational accessibility and 24/7 availability. Never miss a moment with us – businesses can oversee remote operations and information with a click of a button. With zero downtime, you can avoid information gaps and access your data anytime, anywhere.
Data historians are an integral part of businesses keeping up to date with industry developments, their competitors’ following trend patterns, and their own internal processes. Keeping production flowing optimally, they are a crucial tool to drive significant business results.
If you are planning to implement Proficy Historian or other data historisation platforms for your company, contact Allied Solutions here to take your business to new heights. We also offer a range of products and services, from manufacturing scheduling softwares in Singapore like TrakSYS software to data diodes for security challenges.
In a world dominated by the digital sphere, the threat of cyberattacks is a pressing matter. Implementing proactive security measures to protect against these threats is more crucial than ever. Data diodes enter here, a secured form of online protection which shields your data by segmenting and defending your IT and OT networks — these aid in solving security challenges and safeguarding sensitive information through a protected one-way data transfer.
Secured one-way data
As one-way data diode in Singapore allows for information to be sent out but never received, senders are kept safe from incoming malware through their now-protected networks. Data diodes are engineered as blockers, allowing data to be sent in only one direction and blocking anything else from entering your network.
The structure of data diodes is based on hardware and optical fibre, making software bugs and malicious codes such as viruses unable to reach them due to incompatibility. This allows your networks to be safe from malware and prevents data leakage.
An assured fail-safe
One-way Singapore data diode networks are an effective security measure for data transfer and stand apart from other security alternatives. Data diodes are a Cross Domain Solution (CDS) which allows for high-security assurance. While other options, such as firewalls, may be effective, they can still transmit data without an opportunity for a protocol break once breached.
If data diodes are breached, online malware cannot attack them as it is a hardware product, making it impossible for hackers to exploit them. If it is compromised, data diodes will shut down, maintaining high-security assurance for your data.
Moreover, data diodes do not require any updates to preserve this security, while firewalls and other software-based protection measures need consistent updates to regulate their protection levels.
Firewalls are a basic cyber-defence of any organisation’s cybersecurity architecture. However, firewalls should never be considered the only solution because of its inherent two-way data transfer risk. This makes data diodes a reliable, long-term form of protection that stands strong on its own.
Data Diode are trusted
Data diodes can take on the task of sending digital data to a company’s information management systems. This targets sectors such as finances, quality processes, management decisions, etc. This sensitive information can be safely conveyed with the help of data diodes, which are programmed to direct this information through your networks securely.
With data diodes being an alternative to manual data transmission, its benefits include preventing theft, human error, and destruction. Due to a high demand in transmission, avoiding these mishaps can mean saving thousands in avoidable data loss and saving hours of manpower in information recovery.
Moreover, their cost-effective nature further enhances the financial benefit of investing in data diodes. Compared to their alternatives, data diodes offer more reliable protection with a lower total cost of ownership, making it highly economical.
Overall, data diodes have presented themselves as a great payoff when considering the benefits they offer. With improved and secured protection and preventative measures for mishaps, data diodes are a well-rounded option for solving security challenges in an ever-growing digital sphere.
ST Engineering Data Diode is the industrial cybersecurity solution you are looking for. From providing high throughput and robust performance to having a compact footprint for the utmost convenience, ST Engineering Data Diode is compatible with a range of IT, IoT and ICS/SCADA networking protocols, allowing companies to secure their critical information with ease of mind. To find out more, feel free to contact us here.
While the continuous adoption of new IT and OT technologies for business certainly brings improved productivity, it also introduces new security risks. As cybercrime increasingly becomes professionalised, so too do cyber threats rapidly become more sophisticated, subtle, and numerous. Furthermore, hackers relentlessly refine their techniques and develop new workarounds against today’s most advanced cybersecurity solutions.
These factors combined create a cyber threat landscape wherein organisations face unprecedented and more dangerous threats than ever before. To put this into perspective, the number of cyberattacks rose in 2022 by 38 per cent over the previous year.
However, not all cyber threats are made equal; some stand the test of time, while others come and go from year to year. For 2023, businesses should be prepared to face the following critical cybersecurity challenges.
Zero-day vulnerabilities in supply chains
Zero-day vulnerabilities, previously unknown software vulnerabilities overlooked by the vendor of the target software, pose a temporary yet significant risk to corporate cybersecurity. Until these vulnerabilities are patched out or even discovered in the first place, hackers can freely exploit them to adversely affect computers, programs, data, and even entire networks. But even when a patch is made available, some companies do not immediately install them for various reasons.
One area where zero-day attacks are concerning is in the software supply chain. It is increasingly common for companies to lack total visibility over their applications’ third-party, open-source code. Should these external libraries have unpatched vulnerabilities, it is only a matter of time before cybercriminals exploit them. Moreover, vulnerable and widely used libraries create potential attack vectors against countless organisations.
Weaponisation of legitimate tools
Nowadays, there is a fine line between malware, legitimate system administration, and pen testing tools. Oftentimes, functionalities that hackers would build into their malware already come included in the operating systems of their targets or are available in legitimate security tools that will unlikely be seen as malware by detection tools.
Hackers have increasingly taken advantage of such opportunities in their attacks since they have a much lower chance of getting detected by leveraging legitimate tools and built-in features in their attacks. Furthermore, using existing solutions helps scale their attack campaigns and upgrade to more state-of-the-art hacking tools.
Ransomware is malicious software that blocks access to computer systems and data until a ransom is paid off. Since there are no guarantees that the hackers will fulfil their promise of returning access, there is a chance that victims may lose both their data and a huge sum of money if they are ever hit with ransomware. However, by following the best practices in making data backups, they could potentially mitigate the damage of a ransomware attack.
Hackers can also opt to launch double extortion attacks that include data theft on top of data encryption or just go with the former, making it a data breach attack. Ransomware data breaches are faster, harder to detect, and cannot always be resolved with data backups, making them a more lucrative attack for hackers.
Destructive malware or wipers
Although data breaches and ransomware are the most prevalent threats to an organisation’s data security, destructive malware and wipers can cause even greater negative impacts. This is because, as their name suggests, these types of malware delete the victim’s data entirely instead of being encrypted or held ransom.
Wipers have risen in popularity as of 2022, with multiple families of the malware being deployed against Ukraine, most likely by Russian threat actors as part of their ongoing conflict. Other countries like Albania and Iran have also suffered destructive cyberattacks of similar nature, which indicates its increasing popularity as a tool for cyberwarfare and hacktivism.
Third-party risk in the cloud
The adoption of cloud computing on the rise also brings more significant security implications to consider. Lack of familiarity with the best practices in cloud security, cloud shared security model, and various other factors can make cloud environments more vulnerable than on-site infrastructure.
Although hackers are increasingly targeting cloud infrastructures, a more concerning rising trend is their targeting of cloud service providers. Since these entities work with countless organisations, they are essentially a goldmine for valuable, sensitive customer data and even their individual clients’ IT infrastructure. Exploiting the trust relationships between businesses and their cloud service providers allows attackers to dramatically increase the impact and scale of their attacks.
Tips for Dealing With the Cybersecurity Challenges of 2023
Keep these considerations in mind when designing and upgrading your cybersecurity architecture to address the challenges above.
Many of today’s corporate cybersecurity strategies are detection-focused, a responsive approach that only deploys their security solutions and personnel once an ongoing threat is identified to mitigate or remediate its effects. This gives attackers a window to launch their attack before it is eventually addressed, which is enough of an opportunity to cause damage and entrench their foothold, making remediation more challenging and expensive.
Thus, it is better to focus on preventing these attacks from happening in the first place by identifying and blocking inbound them before they ever reach their target. The result is a complete avoidance of the potential threat, damage, and cost it may have incurred.
Since cyber threats evolve in combat increasingly effective cybersecurity solutions, companies cannot afford to lag in adapting the latter’s developments to better protect against advanced attacks.
However, implementing these capabilities through specialised yet standalone solutions can do more harm than good, making it more challenging to configure, monitor, and operate a cybersecurity infrastructure.
It is therefore recommended for organisations to leverage security consolidation instead. This entails deploying a single security platform with all the required security features to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a security architecture and its personnel, enhancing threat management capabilities.
The increasing complexity of corporate IT architectures provides hackers with countless potential avenues of attack. Remote work, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing are examples of new technologies that introduce new security risks and vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain unauthorised access. A robust cybersecurity posture means having comprehensive coverage and protection against as many potential attack vectors as possible.
A good first step towards this goal is adopting operational technology (OT) security that protects the various elements involved in daily operations in conjunction with conventional IT cybersecurity. One example of the many parts that make up OT security is one-way data diode in Singapore, such as ST Engineering Data Diode. This solution (also known as a one-way firewall) eliminates the risk of data leaks and external interference by using unidirectional transmission between an organisation’s physical networks connected to its own other networks or the external Internet.
The cyber threat landscape constantly evolves in response to IT/OT architecture changes and advancing security solutions. As such, managing corporate and industrial cybersecurity risk warrants deploying defences against known and unknown threats.
To better protect your manufacturing organisation, get in touch with us at Allied Solutions today and let our veteran team of experts help you find the tailored cybersecurity solutions that best meet your industrial needs. For more details about how our products, such as GE Proficy Historian and Parsec’s TrakSYS software, and services can enhance your business processes, drop us a message anytime.