Using Low Code / No Code for streamlined Manufacturing Processes within SAP Digital Manufacturing
The rapid evolution of technology has brought about a paradigm shift in the way businesses around the world operate.
One such transformational concept is the Low Code / No Code approach, which has empowered a new breed of developers called Citizen Developers.
These individuals, often not from a traditional programming background, have become crucial in building applications and automating business processes. This change has significantly impacted industries worldwide, offering benefits such as reduced costs, increased efficiency, and greater flexibility.
This blog post will showcase the concept of Low Code / No Code in the context of SAP Digital Manufacturing capabilities, including Production Process Designer and POD Designer, and discuss how this approach can support manufacturing processes.
Low Code / No Code Technology
The evolution of coding can be traced back to the 1950s, when the first programming languages were created to communicate instructions to a computer. By the 1980s, software development was becoming an important business competency following rigorous knowledge and practices until the end of the century.
Now, after twenty more years of evolution, the emergence of visual programming tools, application programming interfaces with integrations, and the platform economy have democratized development.
Low-code and no-code (LCNC) refer to a new style of visual programming that makes it possible to develop applications without the use of coding languages, which greatly reduces the barrier of entry for anyone looking to take up application development. To differentiate between the two aspects:
- Low-code uses both a traditional programming language-based environment combined with no-code platforms and is used by developers with at least basic technical knowledge.
- No-code is simpler, and it fully replaces the traditional programming language-based tooling with a suite of visual development tools (ex. drag-and-drop components) and can be used by technical and non-technical people alike, such as citizen developers.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the most complex work, the traditional software development where high-level programming knowledge and professional development experience is required to build applications and automations that solve nuanced problems.
Source: Getting Started With Low-Code / No-Code and SAP Build
Production Process Designer
Production Process Designer within SAP Digital Manufacturing allows you to build business logic to validate, integrate, extend, enhance, customize and much more by focusing on the business logic itself, rather than programming.
It is a powerful tool that enables users to model production processes, create rules, extend processes, validate steps and much more. It can simplify the interaction between machines, rules, actions, and workflows, allowing businesses to focus on what truly matters: the business.
Advantages of Production Process Designer
By using the Production Process Designer, users can take advantage of numerous benefits, including:
- Modeling production processes using a visual designer, making it easy to understand and modify.
- Focusing on business logic instead of programming skills, making it more accessible for non-programmers.
- Managing configurations centrally, reducing the need for programming each piece of equipment individually.
- Handling different versions of configurations, allowing for easy updates and maintenance.
- Adapting configurations easily if the environment changes, ensuring flexibility and responsiveness.
The Production Process Designer supports various scenarios, each requiring specific master data and configurations, like the ones below:
- Machine Automation
- Manufacturing Execution Automation
- Convergence of Manufacturing Execution and Machine Automation
By designing production processes for these scenarios, businesses can leverage the power of automation and cloud-based processes to drive efficiency and effectiveness in their operations.
See below a short demo on how simple it is to create a Production Process Design from scratch to perform process validations during the manufacturing process:
POD Designer is a crucial tool for setting up production operator dashboards (PODs). It simplifies and accelerates the creation of customized layouts for shop floor operator dashboards, allowing users to:
- Drag and drop several different UI Objects and POD Plugins over to the POD canvas, creating a tailor-made Worker Experience.
- Set plugin configuration options and influence its look and feel, and behavior.
- Publish the POD as a new tile on the launchpad, ensuring easy access for Workers.
And much more!
POD Designer comprises three main areas: the Toolbox panel, the Canvas, and the Configuration panel. These components allow users to create interactive pages with specific layouts for the plugins, link pages together, and configure the layout elements and POD plugins according to their needs.
The Toolbox panel provides users with various layout elements, such as Horizontal Box, Vertical Box, Responsive Splitter, Plugin Container, Dynamic Side Content, Icon Tab Bar, Horizontal Toolbar, and Vertical Toolbar, which can be used to design the POD.
The Canvas allows users to design new PODs by dropping layout elements and plugins onto it.
Lastly, the Configuration panel displays the list of possible configuration options when a layout element or a plugin is selected on the Canvas.
See below a short demo on how simple it is to create a brand new Production Operator Dashboard (POD) from scratch using POD Designer:
Benefits on using LC/NC capabilities of SAP Digital Manufacturing
- Rapid development: SAP DM LC/NC capabilities allow customers to quickly build custom business logic, tailored to their specific requirements, accelerating the digital transformation process.
- Cost reduction: By reducing the dependency on specialized software developers, customers can save on development costs and allocate resources to other critical areas.
- Improved collaboration: SAP DM LC/NC capabilities facilitate collaboration between IT and business teams, enabling the joint development of applications that address specific manufacturing challenges.
- Scalability: As the manufacturing environment evolves, LC/NC capabilities enable customers to easily modify and scale their processes, ensuring they remain relevant and effective.
- Enhanced agility: The ability to rapidly develop and deploy custom logic allows manufacturers to respond quickly to changing market conditions and maintain a competitive edge.
In summary, the Low Code / No Code approach, Citizen Developers, and powerful tools like the Production Process Designer and POD Designer can revolutionize the way manufacturing companies operate around the world.
By simplifying and streamlining processes, these tools enable businesses to focus on their core competencies and drive efficiency, flexibility, and innovation.
Embracing this paradigm shift can lead to significant benefits and a competitive edge in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.
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