For Critical Manufacturing, our 100th blog post milestone is especially relevant to us. Our blog posts are a reflection of cooperation—cooperation from our employees, customers and partners in creating thought-provoking, timely articles discussing technology, people, processes and products. We’ve tried to educate through our posts (Analytics & Big Data; MES & its role in organizational learninghow AR & VR are used in manufacturing) as well as amuse (The IKEA Effect & MES; and our recent Euro 2020 Final: A Masterclass on MES selection).  

We’ve had partners contribute to our blog (great posts, like this one from ATS Global’s Tom Jenks, Facing Down Uncertainty in Uncertain Times) as well as customers like Ultradent who shared their success story on using MES in a Vertically Integrated Value Chain. Collectively, they enrich our MES story, bringing it to life with tangible use cases that cover MES selection, implementation and resultant benefits.

Our educational efforts span the gamut of Digital Transformation, looking at the technologies that enable (such as cloud, big data, AR/VR and digital twin) and intersecting with thought-provoking posts such as that from Tech-Clarity’s Julie Fraser, writing about the importance of Manufacturing Data.

We’ve had some great recognition on our blog in the context of Industry 4.0. We recently were identified as one of the Top 25 Industry 4.0 Blogs You Must Follow in 2021 from Feedspot. It’s a terrific honor and confirms our position to help our customers and partners better understand Industry 4.0, digitalization, and the impact on their operations by using Critical Manufacturing MES.

Throughout all of our posts, there is a common thread: using a Manufacturing Execution System can help you weather the uncertainty of economies, supply chain instability; and less than optimal operations. MES, by its nature, brings control, enforces processes, and reinforces best practices to make your plant the best it can be in terms of productivity, people management, and all of the surrounding processes that influence or contribute to your production.

Each time that we introduce a new module or feature, it’s with a specific industry segment or use case in mind. As we concentrate primarily on the needs of the complex build/discrete industry (such as semiconductor, electronics and medical devices) we build out our stack to fully satisfy the needs of these industries when it comes to functionality such as equipment integration; equipment and materials management. 

A good example is our discussion of Automated Validation for regulated industries. If you or your customer is within a regulated industry, such as pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing, you know that there is strict oversight by regulatory bodies such as the US FDA. Guidelines and protocols are provided to ensure compliance not only for the finished goods, but for the manufacturing systems that produce these products. Validation is a costly and arduous process, oftentimes taking months to complete.  Software validation has two threads of regulatory oversight: CSV and the newer CSA.  The post goes into the three types of automated validation now available from Critical Manufacturing (templates, testing and fully integrated with DevOps) to provide manufacturers with a simplified means of gaining, and retaining, their validated software standing.

Lastly, it goes to say that our blog couldn’t be produced without the support of many Critical Manufacturing employees!  Not surprisingly, one of our most prolific writers is our CEO, Francisco Almada Lobo, who penned the Guide to Data Analytics for Manufacturing. He also provides oversight to many of the posts we publish today.

So thank you to everyone who have contributed and thank you to our readers—you are our inspiration for continuing to write, and educate, to keep our blog relevant for today’s Industry 4.0 challenges.