Sunday, August 19, 2018

Microsoft Inspire Was on Fire this Year – Magic Software Was Part of the Heat!

We’re all back to work after attending Microsoft Inspire 2018 where Microsoft Partners and industry experts from around the world met to transform businesses. We’re fired up and can’t stop thinking about Microsoft’s outstanding partner event!

Highlights from Microsoft Inspire 2018

Magic Software joined the five-day event that broke attendance records of over 18,000! Our first day there we attended the Massive T-Mobile Arena packed with thousands of people eager to hear from top Microsoft executives. With Corenotes everyday concluding on Wednesday with CEO Satya Nadella. The excitement built with the announcement of industry-specific solutions for Dynamics 365.

After the launch of the event, the masses gathered for a wealth of learning opportunities about ways to scale your business and your customers’ businesses. The inspiring sessions allowed attendees to gain insights into subjects like The Modern Workplace, Business Applications, Applications and Infrastructure and so many more!

Magic Software was excited to meet many potential partners through the tremendous networking opportunities. With the MyInspire connection tool, we were able to set up meetings ahead of the event and met many people from around the globe. We’re continuing to have great conversations after the event with others who attended Microsoft Inspire.

The Commons and Magic Software Booth

The Community generated energy that ignited opportunities to create new partnerships and connect with new networks of people from everywhere. There was a significant flow of traffic with thousands of people passing by our booth from approximately 140 different countries.

Our Exhibit provided a space to showcase our software and educate potential partners about our Business Process solutions to help you and your customers. We can’t wait to be a part of this phenomenal event next year!

Magic Software Partner Program

The Magic Partner Program presents our partners with a capability to build market opportunities, develop solutions, and promote service offerings. We provide you with everything you need to sell successfully, service and support your customers at any level.

As a Magic Partner, you will have the opportunity to strategically expand your business by aligning industry and technology experience to meet the increasing demand for Business Process orchestration and integration solutions available on Microsoft Azure.

Do you need to accelerate your clients’ digital transformation with hybrid Integration? 

Contact Magic Software to help you and your customers get the best possible integration solution for their business needs: 

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Rewards and Challenges of Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is not new, but today more than ever, with advancements in industrial Internet of things (IIoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), predictive maintenance can result in significant savings for manufacturers.
Manufacturers utilize predictive maintenance to minimize the possibility of downtime by using sensors to monitor operational conditions, storing historical data in the cloud, and performing analytics. This makes it possible to service equipment based on actual wear and tear instead of scheduled service visits. Think of it as bringing in your car based on real time measurement of actual fluid levels, vibrations and belt thickness, instead of every few thousand miles.

For industrial equipment, more efficient maintenance translates into big savings. It’s a combination of longer equipment life, more efficient use of field technicians, and avoiding expensive downtime, which can lead to product delays and potential safety hazards. When predictive maintenance is in place, machines on the factory shop floor or appliances in a customer’s home can even evaluate their own performance as well as order their own replacement parts and a field technician when there are indications that equipment needs to be serviced. Predictive maintenance can even make use of algorithms based on big data to predict future equipment failures.

When administrative procedures related to ordering and installing new parts are triggered automatically, cost savings can also be experienced in the back office. For example, a machine could sense that a drill bit is wearing out and automatically order a new one, alert the technical service department to send a field service representative, and forward the purchase request for a new part to the ERP system. By automating manual, error prone, labor intensive administrative functions, manufacturers can experience an additional level of efficiency.

But one of the biggest stumbling blocks to predictive maintenance is making data flow smoothly from machines to ERP systems in order to achieve a high level of security and reliability with a low level of latency. However, these barriers are coming down one by one because manufacturers have a strong incentive to invest in predictive maintenance because of the strong payback.

Predictive maintenance ROI

Data from the US Department of Energy indicates that predictive maintenance is extremely cost effective. Putting a functional predictive maintenance program in place can yield remarkable results: a tenfold increase in ROI, 25%-30% reduction in maintenance costs, 70%-75% decrease of breakdowns and 35%-45% reduction in downtime. When savings are expressed per labor hour,predictive maintenance costs $9 hourly pay per annum while preventive maintenance costs $13 hourly pay per annum.
The reasons are simple. Reactive maintenance work costs four to five times as much as proactively replacing worn parts. When equipment fails because there is a lack of awareness of degraded performance there are immediate costs as a result of lost productivity, inventory backup, delays in completing the finished product, and more.
A study by The Wall Street Journal and Emerson reported that unplanned downtime, which is caused 42% of the time by equipment failure, amounts to an estimated $50 billion per year for industrial manufacturers. Even after production begins again, the costs of interrupting operations continue. According to the Customers‘ Voice: Predictive Maintenance in Manufacturing report by Frenus, approximately 50% of all large companies face quality issues after an unplanned shutdown.
In addition to savings, predictive maintenance can also result in competitive differentiation. When machine data can be used to perform predictive maintenance with a high level of precision, manufacturers can focus on differentiating products using digital capabilities like self-healing based on an awareness of technical health. A manufacturer’s value can be measured not only by the quality of its shop floor processes, but also by how it protects its assets. Predictive maintenance can be a selling tool to show customers the manufacturer’s built-in ability to extend equipment life and improve the efficiency of maintenance procedures.

Predictive maintenance in action

UPS claims it has already saved millions of dollars by implementing a predictive maintenance solution to reduce breakdowns and extend the equipment life for their fleet of trucks. Managing over 55,000 drivers and more than 100,000 vehicles globally, UPS has already stored over 16 petabytes of data including information about engine performance and the condition of the vehicle as well as speed, number of stops, mileage and miles per gallon.
Siemens has successfully implemented predictive maintenance for NASA’s cooling systems at Armstrong Flight Research Center situated on Edwards US Airforce base in California. The system monitors the performance of fans, pumps, air handlers, and cooling towers while gaining insights into potential reductions for maintenance and operating costs. Every time there is a significant status change for a piece of equipment, automatic notifications are sent to NASA and an analyst for review.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Siemens have launched a pilot application for the predictive servicing and maintenance of the high-speed Velaro D trains. Siemens utilized a special data analysis center, the Mobility Data Services Center in Munich, to predict potential equipment failures.
There are a number of vendors that advertise the ability of their components to initiate their own service calls including Cummins Power Generation who alerts homeowners and technicians automatically by mobile apps if their generators could experience any potential equipment problems or have specific service requirements.

The IT challenge of predictive maintenance

There are several pieces of the puzzle that need to be put in place before there is a fully working predictive maintenance system. Machines, devices, sensors and people need to connect and communicate with one another seamlessly. There needs to be a virtual copy of the physical world in order to make sense of all the data to conceptualize the information. The most sophisticated solution technologies, such as AI, need to be deployed to support decision making and problem solving, making cyber systems as autonomous as possible. Here are some specific requirements.
  • Bringing your organization into the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. To implement Industry 4.0, you need to start with stateof-the-art sensors whose technologies can be linked to large amounts of data in almost real time. Sensors need to be able to monitor conditions with a high level of reliability in real time to provide meaningful data. Many sensors are limited by antiquated technology and need to be updated.
  • A robust ERP system that can handle unstructured data is the key to unlocking the value of collected data. There is a need to integrate and aggregate data collected from separate solutions from different product manufacturers in order to create meaningful data to create insights. After aggregating the necessary data, you need a system that can store the data, process it and analyse it.

    For predictive maintenance solutions this is not a small thing, for it’s easy to imagine that there are, for example, different delivery truck models in a fleet, various turbine makes and manufacturers in an electrical plant, or different heating and cooling manufacturers in an industrial park.
Hand-coding integration can limit the IT department’s ability to respond to business changes. This creates the danger that IT can be perceived as slowing down a company’s progress by becoming a bottleneck, using valuable resources for integration projects. Integration platforms can be a better alternative to hand-coded integration, because they provide a more flexible environment that can handle multiple integrations with different systems that frequently require updating. They are optimized to deal with different vendors’ technology stacks and to optimize between stacks. Fault-tolerance, resilience and elasticity as well as monitoring and performance management capabilities are built-in so that all data can be managed in a standard way across systems.
  • An integrated ERPMES- platform empowers Industry 4.0 by connecting core systems to enable manufacturers to have all the necessary data combined to gain the needed insights to achieve higher levels of quality and productivity. Enterprise resource management (ERP) manages the business of manufacturing products, manufacturing execution system (MES) controls the production process itself.
  • Integrating your ERP and MES systems can enable alerts for immediate actions to prevent downtime. Maintenance management is much more effective if brought to the operations level, where it can be integrated with production processes closer to where things actually happen.

    ERP and shop floor systems operate on different interpretations of "real time” — ERP focuses on strategic management of the business, while MES is associated with the punctual execution of the process.
  • By integrating ERP and MES, manufacturers can sync customers, orders and inventory data with the shop floor in order to meet actual production requirements, and for reconciling material consumption for better planning.

    When managers can visualize, monitor and document manufacturing processes on the shop floor, including equipment conditions, they can detect changes in status and put the administrative functions in motion to rectify the situation, such as ordering new parts and scheduling a service call. The MES system can be used to populate the ERP system with the quantities actually manufactured and scrapped as well as performance levels. Manufacturers can then use the realtime business management information provided by the MES to fine-tune production schedules. When the systems work in unison, and not just in parallel, manufacturers can respond more quickly to fast changing operating conditions.

    According to the 2017 Market Guide for ProductCentric Cloud ERP Solutions by Gartner, “By 2020, at least 35% of new productcentric ERP deployments in large enterprises will be software as a service (SaaS) loosely integrated with on-premises manufacturing execution systems (MES).” This emphasizes the importance of shifting these two disparate systems from a mere coexisting mode to an integration mode.
  • Integrating your logistics and MES systems. Logistics systems, including Warehouse Management Systems, Transportation Management Systems as well as ERP systems all need to be integrated with manufacturing systems to automate an endto-end business process for equipment maintenance including scheduling the closest available field technician with the necessary tools and expertise.  

    Investing in this multisystem integration can have a quick ROI due to significant financial benefits. For example, one pharmaceutical company used an integration platform to trace lot numbers and chemical quantities during each step of the manufacturing process, accelerating the compliance with regulations. Integrating specialized equipment with back office equipment also reduced inventories due to better demand forecasting.
  • Secure data is a must. Data needs to be collected and shared with a high level of security to protect companies’ intellectual property. Detailed manufacturing equipment information including production processes can be an important part of a company’s competitive advantage, and so can destinations for trucks for delivery companies . 
  • Customers’ financial and personal data needs to be protected, especially with regulations such as GDPR that enforces high penalties when customers’ data is used without their explicit permission.
  • Builtin scalability. When all the sensors are monitoring equipment condition, fluid quantities, vibrations and heat, huge amounts of data need to be collected, stored, and analyzed. When a middleware or data management solution is used in this type of scenario, the solution requires builtin scalability as well as a high level of performance and reliability to collect, filter, process and share vast volumes of data.
Despite the technological stumbling blocks that we have briefly analyzed here, predictive maintenance is a vital part of maintenance management of the future. Manufacturers who succeed in tackling the integration issues and automating both manufacturing processes and maintenance can benefit from a massive financial advantage by taking their operations to a whole new level of efficiency. In time, manufacturers of dishwashers, clothes washers, and maybe even cars can sell hours of service, because of their high level of confidence in the operating efficiency of their equipment, taking away the risk of equipment failure away from the consumer. And all of this can only happen when predictive maintenance enables people and machines to communicate with a high level of security and efficiency.

About the Author

 Yuval Lavi joined Magic in June 2013 with the mission of providing high-level professional services. After three years as the Global VP of Professional Services, Yuval moved to the position of Global VP of Technology & Innovation. In his new position, Yuval is in charge of defining the company's technological vision, opening new technology horizons for the company and building strategic technical alliances. Prior to joining Magic, Yuval was General Manager and co-owner of Kopel Reem Software, a position he held since 1996, after beginning his career there as a programmer.

Contact us for help with your business process automation. 

Originally published at InfoQ.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

How can data integration pave the way towards Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is here. More and more manufacturers around the globe are developing smart factories by leveraging smart sensors, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Kerry Hope, business development manager, Magic Software South Africa.
Kerry Hope, business development manager, Magic Software South Africa.
Although South Africa still has some connectivity issues and overall lags behind the rest of the world regarding automation, it has an advantage over some developed markets because it is not weighed down by legacy infrastructures and can more easily embrace change.

As a result, South African manufacturers can adopt Industry 4.0 more quickly by developing advanced systems that leapfrog their global competitors.

Building the right infrastructure

According to a study carried out by Deloitte, “To get ready for the exponential speed of change that Industry 4.0 introduces, any old and disparate IT systems of South African manufacturers will need upgrading.”

In addition, if the separate systems that manage each phase of manufacturing are siloed, management needs to integrate ERP, MES, and PLM systems so that manufacturers can achieve important insights to maximize their productivity.

Each system holds data that is essential for maximizing manufacturing efficiency and quality. Enterprise resource management (ERP) manages the business of manufacturing products, manufacturing execution system (MES) controls the production process itself, and product lifecycle management (PLM) tracks the design of the products being built. When their data is combined there are new efficiencies that can be introduced both on the shop floor and in the back office.

Putting the pieces together

MES can share the exact amount of products that were manufactured, including reducing the amount of defective or rejected items returned to ERP systems in order to provide real-time inventory data when processing orders. ERP systems can then provide information about future orders so the shop floor can be geared up more quickly to meet demand.

To improve product quality and speed up ramp-up time for production, product design information can be fed directly from PLM to MES systems, including a full bill of materials (BOM), which can replace labour intensive and error-prone manual processes. The tight synchronisation between PLM and MES systems also allows for high level of customisation based on customer specifications or to accommodate the production capabilities of a specific plant or country.

Integration doesn’t need to be limited to the shop floor or the back office. By sharing information with suppliers, there can be more accurate demand forecasting and better inventory control for better materials management. In addition, more efficient logistics can reduce costs and speed up product delivery, which is not only good for the bottom line but also for customer satisfaction. The end result is a smaller gap between product design and delivery, which benefits everyone.

Building the information backbone

Initially, when integrating only one system with another, it is tempting to adopt a point-to-point system integration to keep costs down and to take advantage of internal resources who are familiar with both systems. But as the integration points multiply, development costs increase exponentially and the final system is more difficult to maintain and manage. An integration platform can also act as middleware by providing a common presentation layer for data from disparate systems while providing the added advantage that companies won’t need to replace legacy systems.

When ERP, MES, and PLM systems are integrated, they can accelerate production and improve quality by becoming a backbone for innovation that continuously improves manufacturing execution. Better data integration can facilitate new cooperation and interaction models with suppliers, business partners and customers, to provide South African manufacturers with a distinct competitive advantage.

Written by Kerry Hope,  Business Development Manager of Magic Software South Africa.

Contact Magic Software to help you assess the best practices and your connectivity needs

Originally published at BizCommunity 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Magic xpa 4.0 with its Angular-based Web application framework is here!

We’re very excited that Magic xpa 4.0 is now available. This release of Magic’s low-code application development platform includes the new Angular-based Web application framework. Now, both Magic developers and Angular developers can easily develop device-agnostic and feature-packed Web applications.

So, what can we tell you about the new framework?

Well, first things first: With this new framework, Magic and Angular fit well together. You take your Magic xpa business logic, both back and front end, and easily generate Angular code from it. The new Angular-based application can then work seamlessly with any Web presentation framework. 

Magic and Angular’s full synergetic fit

Another great thing about the new framework is that it uses Single-Page Applications (SPAs) to load a single HTML page and dynamically update that page as the user interacts with the application to create fluid and responsive Web applications, without continuous page reloads.

Another feature that we’re excited to offer is that we’ve decoupled the presentation layer from the logic layer. All of your business logic, both server-side and client-side, will stay in the standard Magic that you know and all of the UI/UX will go to HTML and CSS, which can be used outside of Magic to design state-of-the-art Web apps.  

Magic xpa’s Client-side Architecture

Using Magic’s low-code Web application development framework, applications can be deployed on any cloud, device, or browser with zero footprint. 

One framework for mobile & desktop

Excited about Magic xpa 4.0’s new Web application framework?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Magic Software becomes a Microsoft One Commercial Partner

Magic has earned Co-Sell Ready Status through the Microsoft One Commercial Partner (OCP) Program for its Magic xpi integration platform and Magic xpc cloud-based integration platform as a service (iPaaS). 

Magic Software representatives will collaborate with Microsoft field sales teams and Microsoft partners worldwide on targeted customer integration and application development opportunities.

Magic offers a robust variety of integration solutions for Microsoft

Using Magic xpi integration platform and the Magic xpc cloud-based 
integration platform as a service, companies can connect a wide range of business ecosystems by implementing out-of-the-box certified and optimized connectors to extend the capabilities of leading ERP, CRM, finance, and other enterprise systems.

"Magic brings great value to our customers and partner eco-system that can deliver integration faster, at low risk and natively in the cloud." 
Idit Gazit Berger, MEA ISV Lead at Microsoft.

“We are eager to partner with Microsoft and leverage our market leadership, vendor certified connectors and API-driven high productivity environment.”
Stephan Romeder, VP Global Business Development at Magic Software.

The Microsoft Co-Sell Program aligns Microsoft’s large, global salesforce behind partners like Magic Software to drive top-notch solutions for customers. To be eligible, businesses must submit customer references that demonstrate successful projects, meet a performance commitment, and pass technology and sales assessments, all of which Magic Software was able to quickly demonstrate.

Magic Software is demonstrating Magic xpi and Magic xpc and how Microsoft partners can drive new additional business at the upcoming Microsoft Inspire conference, July 15-19 in Las Vegas, at booth #1803.

Contact us for more information

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Using system integration to optimize the manufacturing process

Core systems within the manufacturing cycle need to be connected to optimize productivity and performance levels.

More manufacturers are becoming smart factories by leveraging the latest innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimize production. All of these innovations require the ability to collect, share, and process reams of data.

However, if all the separate systems used to manage each phase of manufacturing are siloed, management cannot gather the insights they need. Allowing the free flow of information through each stage of the manufacturing cycle is necessary to pave the way to the factory of the future.

An integrated enterprise resource management (ERP), manufacturing execution system (MES), and product lifecycle management (PLM) platform empowers Industrie 4.0 by connecting core systems and provide manufacturers with all the necessary data to gain the needed insights to achieve higher levels of quality and productivity.

The building blocks of a product lifecycle

ERP manages the business of manufacturing products; MES controls the production process itself; and PLM tracks the design of the products being built.

The three systems have distinct purposes, but each of them holds data essential for understanding each stage of the product lifecycle to maximize manufacturing efficiency and quality.

Companies that manufacture products in-house typically use an ERP system to manage information that is shared between their finance, sales, and manufacturing departments. Companies use ERP systems to track orders throughout the manufacturing process, from receipt and production through delivery, in order to get a better understanding about ideal inventory levels and delivery lead times. MES is designed to help track and manage manufacturing information in real time, giving managers greater visibility into the shop floor to help improve quality, productivity, and production time. MES works either minute by minute, or over 10 or 20-minute increments collecting and processing data in real time to control and coordinate manufacturing processes for traceability and performance improvement.

PLM is a business system designed to control the product record across all of the development stages—from concept to design to production. Using a PLM system to manage product data, manufacturers have continuous access to the single and correct version of their product record at any time and can implement an efficient and streamlined change process.

With a PLM system, a company can manage all types of product data including bill of materials (BOMs) and product files. A PLM system also enables a company to communicate changes to the product designs to every supplier in the supply chain.

Process optimization with system integration

ERP to MES integration is becoming standard for syncing customers, orders, and inventory data with the shop floor to meet actual production requirements, and for reconciling material consumption for better planning.

Typically, MES populates the ERP system with the quantities manufactured and scrapped as well as performance levels. The real-time business management information it provides can be used to fine-tune production schedules.

MES to PLM integration, is becoming more popular as manufacturers are looking for ways to accelerate product ramp-up times and create a feedback loop between the various elements of the product cycle, including design and production, to better manage quality.

PLM feeds the MES with bill of materials information, which can speed up a production cycle by eliminating incomplete or inaccurate information sharing between product designers and the shop floor. With MES and PLM integration, manufacturers also have the flexibility to customize production for a particular country or plant, which can eliminate a lot of manual labor to fine tune manufacturing processes.

Integrating ERP and PLM provides a clear and comprehensive view on the status of engineering change orders including the corresponding work orders, inventory changes, and supplier communications.

Sharing information between these systems closes the gap between the stage of product development and delivery and replaces error prone labor intensive manual processes required to consolidate information.

Although there are a lot of benefits to integrating these core enterprise systems, the process is still relatively new. Engineering, information technology (IT), and operations technology (OT) have treated their systems as their own assets that are used to meet their individual goals. Closed systems together with communication protocols and proprietary networks, have created complicated technical hurdles hindering data from flowing easily between systems.

When systems are integrated together, there's traditionally been a lot of reliance on hand coding, which can break when there are system modifications to either one system or the other, requiring constant maintenance and rework. Multipoint integrations using middleware can provide a standard method for managing and reconciling data that accelerates and simplifies the integration process.

ERP, MES, and PLM systems each have distinct functionalities that give an organization better control over its manufacturing processes and can pave the way toward Industrie 4.0 when they are used together. Together, they can accelerate production and improve quality by becoming the backbone for innovation to keep improving the manufacturing process.

Written by Javier JimĂ©nez,  the president of Magic Software Enterprises Americas. 

Contact Magic Software to help you assess the best practices and your connectivity needs

Originally published at Control Engineering