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July 2016

The Benefits of Operational Technology in Manufacturing Management

Businesses are seeing great value in installing converged Information Technology and Operation Technology (IT/OT) to gather and organize data and then applying out-of-the-box manufacturing analytics to have an insight to production losses, the efficacy of the labor force, and the efficiency of material as it moves through their plants — not just locally but globally. These new business insights will support significant increases in overall production volume for the entire business.

Market share, new product innovation and revenue are no longer driven merely by traditional sales, but by the business insights that an combination of data from the whole operation can provide. As the substructure the OT traditionally manages develops increasingly connected, OT teams gains access to data through the organization’s plants. In order to take benefit of that data and develop meaningful insights that result in improved capacity, faster NPI (New Product Introduction) and revenue-driving change, OT needs to imagine their enterprise more broadly, offering high-level viewpoints on what answers they need from the data being generated by installed software, production assets, and even their workforce.

They can ensure this by leveraging the knowledge of their IT teams and asset performance data to get new operations online faster, spot anomalies more quickly and accurately, and find inefficiencies in their supply chain. OT can use data intelligence to improve their decision making, material and asset utilization, reduce waste, and create accurate and timely insights into operations.

To put this simple, a procedure engineer might traditionally assist multiple plants across a wide geographic area at a given time. In many cases, cloud-based manufacturing execution systems (MES) are no longer deployed fragmentary in the field and no longer require independent software installations, saving around 50 percent in support and rollout costs in most cases. All the services, software and data are hosted in a global data center that allows access to one set of complete, actionable data. Once cloud-based monitoring and analytics solutions become a foundational component of the business model, each plant becomes geographically omnipresent; engineers can settle into an office location of their choice and remotely monitor and analyze performance in real-time. This scenario is becoming more popular as the security capabilities of cloud services have become more forceful.

The development of cloud-based analytics makes the conditions for IT and OT to partner and create a business environment in which it is much simpler to develop global benchmarking and where size can be performed daily instead of weekly or monthly. Remote engineers are able to use the same tools as those who are on-site, which vastly increases the rate of failure detection and dramatically decreases the time needed to get an asset back to full health.

What Do We Know so Far from Merchants Services Leads?

Merchant acquiring is an integral part of card payment transactions processing. Acquirers enable merchants to accept card payments by acting as a link between merchants, issuers, and payment networks—providing authorization, clearing and settlement, dispute management, and information services to merchants. The merchant acquiring industry is dominated by a few large players across the globe, with the top ten acquirers in the world handling nearly 50% 1 of the global cards transaction volume in 2010.

 

Merchant acquirers enable merchants to process credit and debit card payments and help in increasing sales by accepting the most popular cards to attract customers to their businesses. Typically, a card payment transaction involves two sides: the first between the cardholder and the bank that issued their card; and the second between the merchant and the acquiring bank.

The acquiring side of the industry typically involves interaction among various stakeholders including merchants, acquirers, processors, independent sales organization (ISO), and payment networks. Each of the stakeholders has an incentive to play its specific role in completing the payment transaction:

  • Merchant: A merchant accepts payment from the cardholder by swiping the user’s card at its terminal, increasing the chance of a sale by accepting popular cards used by cardholders. For example, retailers such as Walmart who accept these cards have higher chances of sale compared to local retailers without card processing capability
  • Acquiring Bank: The acquiring bank provides payment processing services to the merchant, enabling him to accept payments from cardholders. The bank levies a merchant service charge (MSC) on every transaction at the merchant’s point of sale (POS) terminal to generate revenue. The MSC is usually 2% of the transaction amount and contains an interchange fee, the fee paid to card network associations such as Visa and MasterCard, and the acquirer fee
  • Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs): The ISOs solicit merchant accounts on behalf of acquirers and charge a service-based fee from the acquirers. ISOs also manage risky merchant accounts with a higher possibility of credit fraud, for which they charge a higher fee. Examples include: Cornerstone Credit Services LLC, and Bankcard Systems of Newport
  • Third-Party Processors: Third-party processors provide transaction processing services to acquirers as they possess economies of scale and advanced technological systems for cost effective processing. Processors charge a service based or fixed fee from acquiring banks based on the type of pricing contract. Examples of third-party processors include: Global Payments Inc. and First Data.
  • Payment Card Network Provider (Card Association): Card associations, such as Visa and MasterCard, act as the link between the issuer bank and the acquiring bank. The payment card network validates the availability of credit or funds with the issuing bank and communicates the same to the acquiring bank. The payment card network provider charges a fee for each transaction processed through its branded card by the card issuer/acquiring bank.
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