When organisations want to drive manufacturing efficiency, what ideas typically enter the discussion?
No doubt a number of initiatives will be near the top of many manufacturers’ must-have lists: automating processes; connecting data across different departments and eliminating silos; investing in industry 4.0-enabling technologies.
Of course, these objectives are key to making manufacturing smarter. And there’s good reason to think that a turbulent 2020 has driven an increased focus on digitisation among manufacturers. But while investing in the ‘new’ is important, maximising your current metrology systems is also key. One way of doing this is with software maintenance.
According to IEEE 610.12-1990, software maintenance refers to the ‘modification of a software after it has been delivered to correct errors, improve performance or other attributes or to make adjustments to the changed environment.’ So, software maintenance has three distinct purposes:
- Corrective maintenance to eliminate errors
- Perfect maintenance to improve performance
- Adaptive maintenance to alter the software in line with changed technical conditions of the environment
How much software needs to be maintained really depends on the software, how its used, and the duration of its use. But what’s certain is that maintenance makes a significant contribution to investment security. Software maintenance achieves this in a number of ways.
Primarily, maintenance ensures that your software is up-to-date and that you benefit from the latest improvements and enhancements. This helps your software, and in turn your quality systems and operations, to run seamlessly and contributes to helping you achieve your manufacturing objectives.
Accessing the latest software versions also means that you can leverage new features and functionality. This is where software maintenance really starts to drive smart manufacturing. These new capabilities could increase your application and metrology flexibility. Enabling you to take on new business, tackle different parts, and drive more efficient measurement.
The transformative potential of software maintenance is similar to how we experience evolving technology capabilities in our daily lives. For example, say you buy a smartphone on contract and then a few years later you receive the latest model of that phone. A range of new features will have enhanced your user experience. What’s more, new functionalities will have given you a whole range of new tools and ways to maximise your use of the technology (maybe even revolutionising your concept of what a smartphone can be!)
Similarly, the beauty of an agreed software maintenance schedule is that you’re not just extending the lifetime and usability of the software. Over time, these upgrades truly transform the potential of your metrology activities.
Ideally, your chosen software maintenance plan should offer options beyond software updates, but also expert support, opportunities to increase your skills in the software, or trials of the latest software. Hexagon offers all this and more in our software maintenance offerings. Visit the Service and Support page to learn more about how software maintenance can help you make manufacturing smarter.