The manufacturing industry finds itself amidst a profound technological shift, known as Industry 4.0, which is propelled by remarkable advancements in automation and digitalization. As this transformation takes center stage, professionals in both IT and business management are encountering substantial challenges in the implementation of digital systems.
Among these challenges, legacy systems stand out due to their high maintenance costs and resistance to modifications. However, within this era of Industry 4.0, a contemporary solution is swiftly gaining traction, rewriting the rules of the industry – low-code development.
The legacy system challenge
Legacy systems have long been the backbone of many manufacturing businesses, but they often lack the agility and flexibility required in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. These systems are typically rigid and expensive to maintain. As a result, such systems can hinder innovation, limit scalability, and impede the integration of new technologies. As manufacturing organizations look to streamline operations and optimize efficiency, addressing the limitations of legacy systems becomes increasingly crucial.
The rise of low-code
Low-code development is emerging as a modern solution to the challenges posed by legacy systems in the manufacturing industry. But what exactly is low-code? In simple terms, it is an approach to software development that enables developers to create applications using pre-built components, a model driven approach and visual interfaces, with minimal manual coding. This means that developers can focus more on high-level tasks and rapidly build applications by assembling pre-existing building blocks.
The popularity of low-code is on the rise, and for good reason. It allows businesses to accelerate application development, reduce development costs, and increase overall efficiency. By leveraging low-code platforms, manufacturing companies can build custom applications faster, more flexibly and at lower cost, meeting the evolving needs of their operations.
Low-code and core software
Now that we understand what low-code is and its growing popularity, let’s explore how it can be applied to core software systems within the manufacturing industry. Core software systems, such as supply chain management and production tracking, are critical to the success of manufacturing operations. These systems often need to be tightly integrated with various other applications and have complex workflows. Traditionally, modifying and customizing these systems would require extensive coding and testing efforts. Here’s where low-code development shines.
Low-code platforms provide a visual and model driven development environment, allowing developers to rapidly create, modify, and customize core software systems with ease. This means that manufacturers can adapt their software systems to suit evolving business needs without the lengthy development cycles and high costs associated with traditional approaches. Low-code empowers manufacturers to be nimbler, more responsive, and better equipped to drive operational improvements.
Transforming the industry with low-code
Concrete examples underscore the transformative power of low-code in manufacturing. Take the case of a production line optimization tool. Traditionally, developing such a tool could take months of coding and testing. With low-code, the timeline shrinks dramatically. By visually configuring modules, engineers can swiftly design, deploy, and refine the tool, enhancing production efficiency in record time. Low-code’s flexibility extends to predictive maintenance systems, real-time monitoring dashboards and decision-automation solutions, and collaborative workspaces – all vital components of the Manufacturing 2.0 landscape.
Additionally, low-code provides manufacturers with an opportunity to future-proof their businesses. As technology advances and new challenges arise, low-code platforms will continue to evolve, offering enhanced functionalities and integration capabilities. By adopting low-code now, manufacturing businesses can position themselves to adapt quickly to emerging trends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, ensuring they remain competitive and agile in the ever-changing digital landscape.
The benefits of low-code for IT- and business managers
Low-code development offers numerous advantages for both IT and business managers in the manufacturing industry. For IT managers, low-code reduces complexity by abstracting away much of the technical coding, enabling them to focus on higher-level tasks and strategic initiatives. It also shortens development cycles and allows for faster application deployment, resulting in increased productivity and reduced time-to-market.
Business managers, on the other hand, benefit from low-code’s ability to drive innovation and efficiency. With the flexibility to rapidly build and modify applications, businesses can respond swiftly to changing market demands, improve operational processes, and implement new initiatives. Low-code empowers business managers to be more proactive, allowing them to experiment, iterate, and scale their digital solutions based on real-time business requirements.
Preparing for the future with low-code
According to industry reports, low-code is projected to account for 65% of all app development activity by 2024. According to Gartner’s projections, by the year 2026, developers outside formal IT departments will account for at least 80% of the user base for low-code development tools, up from 60% in 2021. As the demand for low-code development grows, the need for professionals skilled in this approach will increase as well. By adopting low-code now, manufacturing businesses can stay ahead of the curve and be well-prepared for the future of software development in the industry. Investing in low-code skills and platforms positions organizations to leverage emerging technologies, adapt to market disruptions, and drive continuous improvement.
Low-code development is transforming the manufacturing industry by addressing the challenges posed by legacy systems and enabling rapid application development. With its ability to simplify and accelerate software development, low-code empowers manufacturers to optimize core software systems, drive efficiency gains, and stay competitive in the digital era.
IT and business managers in the manufacturing industry should embrace low-code as a future-proof strategy, equipping their organizations with the tools and capabilities needed to thrive in Manufacturing 2.0.