The 4th Industrial Revolution and the human touch: Why we need people in the loop
AUGUST 2, 2016
March 12, 2016 was a landmark in human history. Google’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence has beaten Lee Sedol, the world champion in the game of Go. The game is so complex that it was previously thought as impossible for any computer to beat human intuition. The most notable step occurred in move 37 of match 2. Other than Go, computers are now taking over many complex decision-making tasks.
Why “Smart” Manufacturing Will Grow in 2016
MAY 26, 2016
Factories are typically thought of as dark places with people standing on an assembly line working side by side with machines, doing the same thing over and over again. But, that “vision” of the traditional factory has changed thanks largely to the influx of technological advances in how factories operate. The Labor Force. Indirect jobs will be a necessity for these types of factories to function.
7 Challenges to a Wider Adoption of Additive Manufacturing in the Industry – Part 1
JULY 7, 2016
Additive Manufacturing Usage (2013). Source: Wohlers. After being used to create prototypes, tools or presentation models, Additive Manufacturing (AM) is now more and more being adopted to manufacture functional parts. It is also now possible to 3D-print a wide variety of metal parts in aluminum, high-grade steel, titanium as well as nickel and cobalt alloys. Printing a part with the right shape.
Are Robots About to Take Over E-commerce Warehouses?
FEBRUARY 9, 2016
You could say that implementing robotics in warehouse operations is nothing new. After all, “dumb robots” have been used for some time now for performing repetitive tasks. The advancements in artificial intelligence have also introduced us with their smart counterparts, which can perform duties on their own or cooperate with humans. We are the Robots. Tech Magic. The Age of Automation.
Understanding Yard Management Systems
This white paper’s objective is to help industry professionals understand the basics of yard management solutions. It helps understand: Who is investing in yard management and why? What kind of operations benefit from yard management software? What are the economic benefits realized? What should be taken into account when buying a yard management solution?
How the Industrial Internet of Things is Changing the Electrical Industry
MAY 19, 2016
Automation is an inevitable part of many industries, and the logical next step is automated systems that essentially communicate with one another. It’s commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT) and it is transforming how businesses operate. It’s an exciting trend and one that has accelerated dramatically in just the last few years. What Is the Industrial Internet of Things? Tracking. Cohesion.
5 Ways 3D Printing Is Changing the Manufacturing Industry
MARCH 3, 2016
With 3D printing becoming more versatile and less expensive, we’re starting to see more and more companies take advantage of the technology. While additive manufacturing has been around for decades, advancements in 3D printing technology are creating a number of significant changes in the industry. Here are five of the most interesting. 1. More Custom-Built Products. New Design Possibilities.
9 Ways to Gain Efficiency in Warehouse Management
MAY 3, 2016
As with most businesses, efficiency can make the difference between profit and loss. In warehouse management, this is particularly true. The most resourceful warehouse operators use some or all of these techniques to stay ahead of the competition. 1. Smart Layout. Successful warehouse operators have a carefully thought out plan for storage. Applying Lean Principles to Warehouse Management.
Do Forklifts Have a Place in the Warehouse of the Future?
APRIL 19, 2016
Today, just as it’s been for several decades, forklifts are a common sight in warehouses. They are a vital part of the entire warehousing process – from taking new products off the truck for storage, to moving them to different shelving areas, to putting them back on a truck for delivery. Are they becoming obsolete? An Increased Use of Automation. Everything is done quickly and efficiently.
The loyal millennial shopper? No longer a pipe dream for grocers
The game has changed yet again, and corporations and entrepreneurs alike must now adapt; especially so in the grocery industry. To find success in today’s new market, grocers must recognize this evolution and its implications, then adjust accordingly. The time of the baby boomer — long the largest group of shoppers — has passed, and the day of the millennials has arrived. It is no longer enough to compete solely on price – something more is needed to secure real customer loyalty: a true omnichannel experience.
10 Steps to Establish Best Practices in Maintenance Management
JANUARY 20, 2015
Establishing best practices in production maintenance is an achievable goal. But it’s a goal that many talk about but few achieve. So why is it so difficult? And, why are so many manufactures still running at over 90 percent reactive? Many blame it on the age of their manufacturing assets and the repairs they require. Now look through the variables in your operation. But where do we go next?
5 Ways the Cloud Can Impact Manufacturing
MAY 14, 2015
According to a survey by NSK Inc., 82 percent of companies surveyed saved money by moving various parts of their business to the cloud. Interestingly, however, according to another survey by a renown analyst firm, only 3 percent of manufacturers have a cloud-based Manufacturing Execution System installed. Clearly, we have a world where cloud adoption is not ubiquitous! Better Forecasting.
5 Manufacturing Practices that will be Outdated within the Decade
JUNE 30, 2015
Do your manufacturing processes still rely on analog or paper-based components? Perhaps now is the time to embrace digitization as a strategy? As you read this article, the manufacturing industry is moving towards a fourth massive revolution. The addition of the Internet to devices promises to further accelerate the innovation that is to come. Reliance on Human Labor. Analog to Digital Management.
5 Lean Best Practices for the Warehouse
OCTOBER 13, 2015
While most of today’s warehouses have some plan to operate as efficiently as possible, it is likely new opportunities still exist to squeeze out inefficiencies. There is a reason why Lean methodologies are considered a “continuous” process improvement. Things change; suppliers get added; new employees are hired; and new facilities are added to the mix. Data Governance. Cross-Docking.
Alan Mulally’s Perspective on the Digitization of Manufacturing
MARCH 31, 2016
Former CEO of Ford and Boeing Commercial Airplanes says all companies are becoming digital, connected. Alan Mulally is not your average retiree. Today, Mulally is still very much in demand for his talent, his ideas and for knowing how to gain competitive advantage through organizational culture, serving on the boards of two high-tech companies. Traditional Industries Versus Digital Ones.
The Next Big Thing In Supply Chain Decision Making
What if you could make supply chain decisions based not only on what has occurred or is likely to occur in the future, but through recommendations based on why and how things happen? Prescriptive analytics help you find the best course of action for your specific business objectives and situation. They suggest the optimal way to handle what is likely to happen in the future by factoring in specific scenarios, resources and other inputs. Download the report to learn more
How Technology Can Optimize Warehouse Efficiency
JULY 14, 2016
Warehouses, much like any other competitive industry, are beginning to utilize emerging technologies in new and cost-effective ways. These technological breakthroughs make warehouses more efficient, safer and generally more sophisticated than the warehouses of the past. Software Solutions. Warehouses are big beneficiaries of software, as the plethora of warehouse management systems makes life easy.
Q&A with Tom Greco, Vice President of ThomasNet.com
JANUARY 15, 2016
Recent reports, such as what was announced by the MAPI Foundation , suggest that during the next few years manufacturing production could outpace GDP growth, starting in 2015. Output in the U.S. is anticipated to advance by 2.6% in 2016, 3.0% in 2017 and 2.8% in 2018. Experts are pointing to strong consumer demand and brisk hiring as the major drivers behind this expansion. The rest is history.
Is Data the New King of Manufacturing Technology?
MAY 12, 2016
There’s an old saying, “The tail wags the dog.” It refers to any situation where a secondary offshoot of the main operation ends up taking control. Broadly, it can mean a shifting of the power base: the servant becomes the master. think we may be looking at exactly this scenario in the world of manufacturing technology. major disruption is underway, and it’s all about the data.
How do You Measure Manufacturing Resource Productivity?
MAY 5, 2015
Manufacturers have done a good job in recent years of squeezing the inefficiencies out of their operations and improving productivity. Most large enterprises have a Lean manufacturing program in place to one degree or another. The competitive global marketplace now requires it. But there’s one area of potential improvement that has received only minimal attention, and that’s resource productivity.
Boost your Supply Chain Agility- Make your Data Actionable with Prescriptive Analytics
According to a recent Supply Chain Insights Report, while business is changing quickly, supply chain processes are evolving slowly. The average supply chain organization is 15-years old, and one out of three companies state that there is room for improvement in their supply chain.
Why Manufacturers Can’t Afford to Ignore Digital Transformation
SEPTEMBER 17, 2015
Manufacturing organizations are becoming increasingly global and their ecosystems more and more complex. As a result, manufacturing executives are required to redefine their marketplace, service models and create new symbiotic business relationships. Additionally, the introduction of new technology is threatening business operations and the sustenance of market leadership.
Systems Engineering Critical to Tackling IoT’s Challenges
JUNE 30, 2016
Millions of devices and users. Trillions of lines of computer code. That’s how Hillary Sillitto, an expert on ultra-large-scale systems (ULSS) and a fellow of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), describes the largest system ever conceived: the Internet of Things (IoT). Managing Subsystem Conflicts. Systems engineering is as much art as it is science,” said Norman R.
How Emerging Green Technologies Are Impacting Manufacturing
DECEMBER 15, 2015
Figure 1: Source: US EPA. Over the following decades, the manufacturing industry will continue to transform into an industry that will be almost unrecognizable by today’s standards. New levels of interoperability, collaboration and remote monitoring are just a start – other new technologies and strategies may not even yet exist! Reduce Energy & Water Usage. According to the U.S.
How Green Technology Is Transforming Traditional Manufacturing Methods
JUNE 1, 2016
Manufacturing, along with other industrial processes, is one of the primary industry sectors being targeted for green technology use. Traditional manufacturing methods are transforming into lean, green conserving machines that benefit the planet and the bottom line. The costs of conservation and green technology are more easily justified in this financial climate. What Exactly Is Green Technology?
Turning Your Consumer Goods Supply Chain Into a Competitive Advantage
Are you leveraging your extended supply chain?
How Hackers Are Targeting Manufacturing Businesses
OCTOBER 29, 2015
Manufacturers now operate in an increasingly connected world. The Industrial Internet of Things promises to expand connectivity and access to. equipment, machines and processes to a level never seen before. Manufacturing businesses are seeing an increased level of cyber-attacks directed at them using a variety of attack methods. Drive-by Downloads. Cross-site Scripting. Watering Hole Attacks.
What Global Manufacturers Can Learn From the Insurance Business
FEBRUARY 11, 2016
Can manufacturers learn something from the insurance industry? Perhaps so, at least according to this article published here. The author suggests that “risk pooling” is the single most important concept in supply chain management. While this concept is not new, there are reasons why it is becoming more important than ever before. Risk Pooling for Manufacturing. So far, so good.
6 Ways To Help Eliminate Unscheduled Downtime
FEBRUARY 4, 2015
A surefire way to hurt a manufacturing company is through unscheduled downtime. Planned downtime is one thing, but unplanned disruptions in the production and delivery process can end up costing significant time and money — and that’s why finding ways to stop unscheduled downtime from happening is so important. Then, figure out why each instance occurred.
What Manufacturers Need to Know About Demographic Trends
FEBRUARY 4, 2016
We have all read much about how the Baby Boomers impacted consumption patterns. Just as one example, according to Census data , this demographic is credited with driving up the average home size every decade following WWII to a peak 2,521 square feet in 2007, at which point it began falling. 2016: A Milestone Year. Further, our global population of workers will shrink by 5% by 2050. What to Do?
How Smart is Your Factory?
DECEMBER 17, 2015
Much has been discussed about Smart Manufacturing, or the use of the Industrial Internet of Things in manufacturing environments. But it seems everyone has a different opinion of what that actually means. In this post, I want to make an attempt at defining what a Smart Factory is. If you want to rate how smart your factory is, give yourself a score of 0 to 5 for each of these categories.
Adaptability is Transforming Robotics
MARCH 22, 2016
It’s more than 50 years since the first industrial robot went to work. Today some 1.5 million are in use around the world, yet there is not a single Jetson’s Rosie or (fortunately) T800 Terminator among them. The reality is, despite a public perception that robots think and reason, none of them are anything more than a machine, obeying programmed instructions. Structured Environments.
In Medical Device Manufacturing, Smaller Companies Have Big Advantages
DECEMBER 8, 2015
Photo credit: Paolo Bona via Shutterstock. The medical device industry is driven by innovation to find new cures or approaches to help people live better lives. This drive for innovation, however, extends beyond what products to make – it also applies in the context of safety and compliance. In fact, this is not always the case. Adopting new technologies.
3 Practices Sure to Deliver Big Time Transformation in the Warehouse
MARCH 24, 2016
The surge of modern technology has shifted our outlook on warehouse operations. The market is heading towards new business frontiers, facing managers and owners with challenges in the areas of shipping, storing, inventories and human resources. It has become increasingly important to take advantage of cutting-edge tech solutions. Watch this video to see it in action. 2. Chain Reaction.
What Is Defining the Future of Aerospace Technology?
APRIL 28, 2016
Innovation has always been the cornerstone of the aerospace industry, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Like any industry, aerospace faces its share of challenges. But since aerospace touches so many other industries, including defense and passenger aviation, there should never be a shortage of new technologies to keep the industry thriving. The Future of Passenger Aircraft.
Social Networking in Manufacturing: Like or Unlike?
AUGUST 7, 2014
Do you take social networking seriously in your manufacturing enterprise, or is it just another fad? Social networking used to be considered about as far from manufacturing concerns as one could get. The session uncovered a lot of interesting facts, trends and ideas, so I thought I’d share some of them here. These future workers use these tools in their daily lives. They’ve grown up with them.
How Packaging and Shipping Requirements are Evolving with Today’s Global Supply Chain
SEPTEMBER 10, 2015
Long gone are the days of simply packaging goods and shipping them to distributors. As the world has changed, so too has the world of packaging and shipping requirements. The list of “must have’s” and “must do” has grown exponentially. One example is the transportation of hazardous materials. The Origins of Hazardous Materials Regulations. Since that time, these regulations have evolved. Cosmetics.
The Advantages of Procrastinating in a Fast-paced Manufacturing World
FEBRUARY 23, 2016
Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do the day after tomorrow. –Mark Twain (also attributed to Oscar Wilde). We live in such a “faster is better” world that sometimes we overlook the value of putting things off. But as an article on supply chain management points out, in some manufacturing supply chain scenarios, postponement actually makes good business sense. Voila!
Modern Mining Innovation: The Bright Future of the Industry is Now
MARCH 10, 2016
Innovation is essential to the mining industry. New technology and techniques are constantly being used to make improvements, and new equipment is being produced to increase efficiency, especially when it comes to advances in automation. Along these lines, here are some of the main areas these manufacturers should look at in 2016. Technological Advances. Growth of 3D Printing.