What is a Smart Factory?

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What is a Smart Factory?

The influence of technology on modern factory operations is significant, encompassing various advancements like autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), cloud computing, and 3D printing. Integrating these technologies leads to a more intelligent and adaptable manufacturing process, thereby bringing the concept of a Smart Factory Solution into practical fruition.
Smart factories and smart manufacturing constitute integral components of the technological shift recognized as Industry 4.0, synonymous with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The prior three industrial revolutions were instigated by pioneering technologies that fundamentally altered our approach to work and the production of goods: specifically, the steam engine, the assembly line, and the advent of computer power. In the contemporary context, the fourth revolution is propelled by digital metamorphosis and the integration of intelligent automation.

What is a Smart Factory Solution?

The smart factory concept pertains to an extensively digitized and interconnected environment wherein machinery and equipment enhance processes through automation and self-improvement. These smart factories are an integral aspect of the ongoing technological shift known as Industry 4.0, marking the current phase of the industrial revolution. These advantages extend beyond physical goods production, encompassing areas such as planning, supply chain, logistics, and even product development.
Nonetheless, the fundamental value proposition of smart manufacturing factories remains rooted within the confines of the manufacturing facility. A smart factory’s framework can comprise a blend of production, information, and communication technologies, with the potential for seamless integration spanning the entirety of the manufacturing supply chain.
All the disparate components of production can be interconnected via the Internet of Things (IoT) or other advanced integrated circuits (ICs), which facilitate the sensing, measurement, control, and communication of all activities occurring throughout the smart manufacturing process.
The prevalence of smart factory solutions is steadily increasing as business leaders acknowledge the imperative need for digital transformation within their supply chains to remain competitive and resilient. Concurrently, evolving consumer expectations are pivotal in propelling the development and swift adoption of smart factory technologies. According to industry reports, the third most challenging issue companies face is meeting customer demands for faster response times, necessitating increased investments in supply chain automation.

Working Process of Smart Factory

When discussing automated processes, we often portray them as exclusive to the smart factory solution. However, automation and robotics have been integral to manufacturing operations for decades. In many conventional factories, you can find automated machinery like barcode scanners, cameras, and digitized production equipment employed across various stages of their processes. Nevertheless, these devices typically operate independently. In traditional factories, individuals, assets, and data management systems function in isolation, necessitating manual coordination and ongoing integration efforts.
On the other hand, a smart manufacturing digital factory operates by seamlessly integrating machinery, personnel, and vast sets of Big Data into a unified, digitally connected ecosystem. Unlike its traditional counterpart, a smart factory doesn’t merely collect and analyze data; it actively learns from its experiences. It interprets and derives insights from data sets to predict trends and events and offers recommendations while executing intelligent manufacturing workflows and automated procedures. The smart factory continually refines its processes, autonomously correcting and optimizing itself—effectively teaching itself and its human counterparts to become more resilient, productive, and safe.

Understanding the Configuration of Smart Factory

Data gathering

Data Gathering

Thanks to artificial intelligence and modern database technologies, businesses can collect and acquire valuable data from various sources, including their operations, supply chain, and global sources. Utilizing sensors and gateways, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enables connected machines to feed data into the system. Additionally, AI-driven systems can compile data from numerous other sources, such as performance metrics, market trends, and logistics
Integration of Quality as Core Operations

Data Interpretation

Machine learning and intelligent business systems leverage advanced analytics and contemporary data management solutions to make sense of the extensive and diverse data collected. IIoT sensors can provide alerts when machines require maintenance or servicing, while market and operational data can be combined to identify opportunities and potential risks. The analysis can also involve studying workflow efficiencies to optimize performance and initiate automatic corrections. The wealth of data sets available allows for countless combinations that inform the optimization of the digital smart factory and forecasting within the supply chain.

Data Interpretation
Intelligent Factory Automation

Intelligent Factory Automation

Following the data acquisition and analysis phases, workflows are established, and instructions are transmitted to machines and devices within the system. These devices can be situated within the smart factory premises or scattered throughout the various links in the supply chain, including logistics and manufacturing. Smart workflows and processes are under constant monitoring and optimization. For instance, if a news report signals a surge in demand for a particular product, 3D printers can be instructed to prioritize the production of that item. Similarly, if a shipment of raw materials faces delays, inventory buffers can be activated to prevent disruptions.
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What are the Primary Benefits of Switching to a Smart Factory Solution?

Numerous enterprises have been managing their supply chain operations and systems that have remained essentially unchanged for many years. However, given the heightened consumer expectations and the prevailing economic uncertainty, supply chain managers now require smart manufacturing solutions that can swiftly provide real and significant benefits. Reports suggest that only 43% of manufacturers had initiated smart factory projects. By 2019, this figure had risen to 68%. For companies willing to invest in digital transformation and the smart factory solution, the potential to realize significant business benefits exists. Some of these benefits are:

Productivity & Efficiency

Traditionally, manufacturing has been a reactive process involving responding to events or trends that have already occurred and attempting to redirect the business accordingly. A smart factory solution, however, aims to diminish the necessity for reactive practices and transitions supply chain management towards a more adaptable and responsive approach. These technologies identify and implement optimized processes using predictive analytics and Big Data analysis. 

This results in advantages such as just-in-time inventory management, precise demand forecasting, and accelerated time-to-market, all contributing to enhanced efficiency. Furthermore, the insights provided by digital tools enable the workforce in smart manufacturing factories to streamline their tasks, further boosting overall productivity.
In a study on smart factories, companies observed improvements of up to 12% in areas like manufacturing output, factory utilization, and labor productivity after investing in smart factory initiatives. Additionally, it is projected that manufacturers with smart factories will likely outperform traditional factories with 30% higher net labor productivity by 2030.
Integration of Quality as Core Operations

Sustainability and Safety

Nowadays, consumers are increasingly inclined to invest a little more in products they can be assured are sourced and produced using socially and environmentally responsible approaches. Contemporary smart factory solutions have made it more convenient than ever for businesses to recognize and adopt opportunities for greener, safer, and socially responsible manufacturing practices. Digital advancements, such as blockchain and RFID sensors, are tools that smart factory managers can employ to guarantee indisputable traceability and quality control for all materials and resources, even those originating from the farthest reaches of the supply chain.

Furthermore, the International Society of Automation highlights that robots and automated devices can play a pivotal role in reducing or eliminating three of the top five causes of workplace injuries.

Product Quality and Customer Experience

In the traditional manufacturing setup, ensuring that directives were accurately communicated and followed by lower-tier suppliers and manufacturers in the supply chain was often challenging. However, in a smart factory, cloud connectivity and end-to-end visibility provide real-time insights and recommendations to all levels of the manufacturing process. This enables swift customization and adaptation to changing trends, ensuring products remain aligned with customer preferences. The advanced analysis of system data promptly identifies weaknesses and opportunities for enhancement. 

The advanced analysis of system data promptly identifies weaknesses and opportunities for enhancement. As a result, this leads to increased competitiveness in the market, better product reviews, and reduced instances of costly returns or recalls.

Common Technologies in a Smart Factory

Smart factory technologies exhibit remarkable agility. As a business intensifies its digital transformation endeavors, many opportunities exist to expand, alter, and adjust as required, offering virtually limitless possibilities.
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How does eWorkplace Manufacturing’s Smart Factory Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) make your factory SMART?

Smart Factory is a full-stack, cloud-based solution combining MOM/MES/APS platforms for ultimate production control and efficiency. Smart Factory helps enterprises optimize their manufacturing processes and increase sustainability. It’s a solution that eliminates the necessity for manual systems, spreadsheets, and other dull and error-prone processes. With Smart Factory, you can optimize manufacturing, decrease expenses, and attain regulatory compliance. Smart Factory platform facilitates and empowers the “Industry 4.0” revolution.
With four key capabilities, our platform offers a complete solution for manufacturers looking to enhance their operations:


Our platform gives a holistic view of manufacturing operations in real-time, empowering decision-makers and operations teams with greater visibility and operational intelligence.



Our simulation possibilities accelerate customers’ reaction to variations, market needs, and customer requests.



Smart Factory MOM increases asset and worker utilization and efficiency, cuts production costs, shaves lead time, and reduces waste.



Our solutions ensure seamless connectivity with a broad range of machinery and automation devices, aggregating data and boosting productivity and performance on the manufacturing shop floor.

Smart Factory MOM for Manufacturers is an end-to-end solution encompassing Scheduling, Production, Asset Management, Training, Notification & Analytics, Quality Management, and Dashboards to help optimize the manufacturing workflow.
Each module can be selected as needed, giving you agile and quick deployment. Plus, our fixed-price implementation means you go live quickly without surprises.
Smart Factory Functionality
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you implement, train, and maintain the Smart Factory MOM solution and count on us to help you overcome any hurdles along the way.


When embarking on your digital transformation journey, it’s crucial to remember that a smart factory’s “smart” aspect stems from its advanced data analysis and data management capabilities. The core of a smart factory lies in a modern database and a robust ERP system, which provide the necessary support for the advanced functionalities that drive the entire system. A pivotal determinant of the success of a smart factory solution transformation lies in the ability of existing business systems to handle Big Data and seamlessly integrate technologies like machine learning and advanced analytics.
Moreover, smart factory transformation is beneficial because it doesn’t have to be a sudden, all-encompassing change. It doesn’t necessitate the interruption or pause of existing business operations. Each step a business takes to modernize and optimize its digital systems brings it closer to achieving a fully integrated smart factory. Furthermore, smart factory manufacturing technologies inherently collect and analyze data, enabling the immediate measurement and assessment of any newly implemented digital technologies’ impact and return on investment (ROI) from the moment they are deployed.