About the author: 

Rhett Ramos is the Regional Director for Allegro MicroSystems’ IT operations across Asia. In his role, he has transformed the Allegro manufacturing landscape through automation, mobile development, intuitive UI/UX, analytics, and IoT.

Through his experience using the OutSystems platform to support automation and development at Allegro, Rhett has become a passionate advocate for low-code development—even guest speaking at the OutSystems Digital Transformation Now roadshow in the Philippines.

Automation has become an integral part of the modern manufacturing industry. In a field defined by tight margins and intense cost competition, organizations not only need to embrace it but also constantly be at the forefront of innovative automation to stay competitive and operate as efficiently as possible.

From reducing the costs associated with labor and maintenance to ensuring a higher net yield of manufactured goods via quality improvements, automation is absolutely key to running a profitable factory today.

Unfortunately for many factory managers, though, like most things that can deliver significant business and operational value, automation doesn’t come easy. For many companies, it requires them to step into an entirely new world of development and data mastery and tackle completely new challenges like:

  • Acquiring and paying for expert development skills when they’re required
  • Understanding user experience to create intuitive apps
  • Manually maintaining apps and automated process to ensure minimal downtime

Those technical and development challenges have kept many from achieving their automation ambitions, until now. A new option has emerged that can simplify all those challenges and give even those with the most limited development experience the chance to create incredible automated apps and systems—low-code.

Low-Code: Making Automation Easier for Everyone

Factory managers are rarely seasoned IT experts nor should they have to be. Luckily, low-code development gives them everything they need to deliver applications and integrations that support and enable automation quickly, consistently, and cost-effectively.

When we were planning our own factory floor transformations at Allegro MicroSystems, we chose to use the OutSystems platform for low-code development. As a result, we’ve rolled multiple disparate systems together into a single, consistent, and simple UI, streamlining the collection of data across the factory—something we would have really struggled to do without the platform.

The results have been really encouraging and exciting for everyone here. We’ve seen higher quality data capture with far fewer errors, which has, in turn, empowered us to use our data in new and exciting ways—further fueling our automation efforts.

But what I think will really interest a lot of factory managers is how quickly and easily we’ve been able to do it all with low-code. In a fraction of the time that it would have taken with traditional methods, we created a high-quality application using only a single developer straight out of college.

It should be noted, however, that not all low-code platforms are created equal, and a lot of our success can be attributed to our choice of platform. By using OutSystems, we’ve created a consistent foundation for all future development—one that won’t be hindered by the preferences or skills of legacy developers once they move on.

A Better Way to Develop and Automate

The benefits we’ve seen at Allegro MicroSystems have been fantastic, but they’re certainly nothing out of the ordinary. Other manufacturers using low-code can easily replicate our success and seize a huge number of other powerful opportunities for themselves.

Using a sophisticated low-code platform like OutSystems, manufacturers can:

  • Involve operators and factory-floor teams in the development process to ensure new apps and services deliver exactly what they need.
  • Iterate on apps quickly and experiment with new automated capabilities to find out what works best.
  • Embrace automation beyond the factory floor, creating similarly powerful applications to streamline back-office operations.

It supports an approach to automation that involves everyone. The development process is so simple and open that everyone can get involved and ensure that they have what they need from new developments. That is the foundation of truly enterprise-wide automation.

Why Low-Code Just Makes Sense for Manufacturers

Low-code development delivers the three things successful manufacturers value most: speed of delivery, quality of output, and cost efficiency.

Factory owners and managers have the tools they need to solve problems with as few steps as possible. Low-code development removes technical barriers and makes it easier to seize the automation advantage and improve processes and outcomes across the factory.

For those looking to improve the efficiency of factory operations, improve margins and yield, and digitize processes to enable smarter operations, low-code development is an invaluable tool. And as more factory owners discover its power to deliver competitive advantage, it’s going to become commonplace throughout our industry.