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IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges…

IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges…

Sep 20, 2016

IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges And Opportunities By by Rajaram Radhakrishnan & Prasad Satyavolu, Manufacturing Business Technology Manufacturers face an exciting yet challenging future. Meeting consumer demands for personalization, increasing productivity despite the skills shortage and generating new revenue opportunities are all major strategic issues. Deep, real-time visibility into plant operations and supply chains, the ability to predict plant floor events and anticipate broader trends using existing resources to their fullest capacity are all required capabilities. The Internet of Things (IoT), with its potential to assimilate real-time information through sensory enablement and a growing network of interconnected devices, can equip manufacturers with these capabilities, giving them higher flexibility to respond to changing market dynamics. Each manufacturer’s IoT strategy will be unique to their specific operating system, their place in the value chain and the customers they serve. Yet all manufacturers should use the following as benchmarks to ensure that their IoT implementations provide the data and business intelligence required to succeed in today’s business environment. Broad Scope of Instrumentation Automation has existed for decades in most manufacturing production facilities and warehouses — from barcode readers to robots — and some manufacturers easily track the flow of parts and goods on their shop floors. IoT allows the manufacturers to take their automation to the next level, leveraging information available inside, around and beyond the walls of the plant floors. IoT-driven automation delves deeper and broader, enabling manufacturers to gain granular visibility into their operations. For example, human sensing can play a role in integrating work allocation as well as safety in case of an accident. While human sensing in consumer environments raises privacy concerns, it has tremendous potential in the industrial world. Accomplishing complete tracking of operations requires manufacturers to deploy more sensors throughout their facilities, including material handling equipment, capturing multitudes of equipment performance parameters in real-time and data about ambient conditions such as temperature, humidity and air quality. This information set, correlated with the workstation data gathered through the Manufacturing Execution System, provides core level visibility and impact of conditions on overall plant performance. Other systems and devices that affect plant performance also need to be instrumented, from maintenance equipment to drones, robots and...

How to Bring Back Manufacturing Jobs

How to Bring Back Manufacturing Jobs

Sep 16, 2016

By Daniel Gross, Strategy+Business America has a long-running crisis in manufacturing employment. Quite simply, year after year, the number of people employed in making things declines — the figure is down by nearly 5 million since 1996. And in election years like this one, it is common to hear politicians talk about how they will bring manufacturing jobs back. Across the board — on both sides of the aisle, in every part of the country — there is an overwhelming desire to have more manufacturing jobs. This is partly due to nostalgia and symbolism. But it’s also driven largely by economics: Generally speaking, the manufacturing jobs that have been lost (and that remain) offer better pay, benefits, and job security than the service jobs that have replaced them. What’s more, manufacturing has a big multiplier effect — when you build machines at a factory, it calls an array of suppliers and service providers into action. Thanks to the power of manufacturing’s economic impact, states and cities are often willing to offer significant financial incentives to companies that are willing to open plants. Now, if they were being honest, politicians would note that the vast majority of the millions of manufacturing jobs lost can’t return. They left due to globalization and competition. And many were rendered obsolete by technology. The reality is that the value and volume of stuff factories produce tends to rise each year, even if employment falls, because software, machines, and computers are doing more of the work. However, there are at least a few hundred thousand manufacturing posts that could be “brought back” without turning back the clock on globalization and making factories less productive. All that would have to happen is for America’s companies to fill the hundreds of thousands of open positions. I’ve written before about the strange state of affairs in the job market. Markets everywhere have become more efficient, thanks to technology and brilliant new platforms that grant buyers and sellers of goods and services the ability to meet one another online and agree on product and prices. And yet the labor market has become lessefficient. As the most recent JOLTS report notes, there were some 5.6 million jobs open in the U.S. at...

Manufacturing Growing, but Not Fast Enough

Manufacturing Growing, but Not Fast Enough

Sep 15, 2016

By Patrick W. McGibbon, The Association for Manufacturing Technology A growing manufacturing sector is good news for most, but in our industry manufacturing growth must be accelerating to create an expanding manufacturing technology market. The growth rate in manufacturing led to double-digit declines in manufacturing technology orders in 2015, and is likely to yield the same in 2016. Current trends paint a bleak picture in the near term as plant closures pepper the headlines, key indicators remain mixed and risk assessments worsen. A deeper look provides hope for the future and a turnaround in 2017. The US Manufacturing Technology Order program (USMTO) produced by AMT provides an excellent barometer on the health of the manufacturing sector as it is a leading indicator for downturns and a lagging indicator for upturns in manufacturing. The trend in USMTO suggests that manufacturing’s growth is about to plateau and may linger there for five to eight months. After that point, experts expect significant growth in manufacturing and a pick up in manufacturing technology orders. Domestic increases in wage and employment levels—as well as expanding profitability of manufacturers—bode well for increased demand for manufactured goods. Declining inventories and more competitive pricing for domestic manufacturers suggest production rates will expand at a much faster pace by the second quarter of 2017. Unfortunately, the impact of these trends will not be evenly spread. The outlook for the South Central USMTO regions remains bleak as most sectors report orders are flat to slightly down. The oil & gas industry is flat but so low that it is difficult to imagine business worsening. Bright spots are in the electronics and high-tech businesses. Automotive and consumer electronics are improving, and high tech manufacturers centered on Kansas City and Austin are looking for continued improvement. The North Central West region has similar issues as three of its top industries—agricultural, oil & gas, and mining—remain in their slumps. Medical equipment production stalled in late 2015 but is again expanding based on newly announced projects. The West region continues to struggle as refinery, medical equipment and consumer electronics industries’ production rates remain flat and below historical averages. Although prospects in aerospace have dampened as defense programs stagnate due...

3 Mega Trends in Automotive Creating New Opportunities for…

3 Mega Trends in Automotive Creating New Opportunities for…

Sep 14, 2016

“3 Mega Trends in Automotive Creating New Opportunities for Tier 1, 2, & 3 Suppliers” By Perri Cline, IQMS Manufacturing ERP Recently, IQMS participated in the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) in Traverse City, Michigan and observed several three undeniable trends that the automotive industry OEMs and suppliers must address in their strategy and plans for the end of this decade. Material and process innovation is a requirement.  Part, module and systems redesign based on material and process innovation will be necessary across the entire vehicle to successfully reduce weight and enable hybrid and electrified powertrains to meet US federal regulatory requirements for 2020 – 2025. This is driving OEMs, Tier I’s and entire supply chains to pursue disruptive designs to combine components into single pieces, eliminate unnecessary fasteners and joints and produce high-strength steel, aluminum, magnesium and resin composites structural elements. It is common to hear targets of weight reduction of four to five hundred pounds per vehicle. Autonomous driving capabilities. New active driver assist systems (ADAS) features and technologies will need to be invented or matured to create reliable and safe autonomous driving capabilities in cars, trucks, CUVs and SUVs. While there are many issues and challenges to be ironed out, it is clear that the Federal and state governments, changing vehicle buyer demographics and public concern for consumer safety will drive the need for innovation. Public and private partnerships are also planning and developing facilities for developing autonomous vehicle technology. These initiatives are based on creation of special “mobility” campuses and even public roads where communications between vehicles (V2V), regional infrastructure (V2I as smart traffic signals, road surface sensors, etc.) and ultimately the Internet of Things will validate safety protocols.Also, investments and new ventures formed by traditional vehicle OEMs and ride-share disrupters will rapidly evolve as pilot programs and service offerings in target cities across North America, Europe and Asia are already launched and enjoying some success. Many of these companies have plans to leverage self-driving vehicles in dedicated future private fleets of vehicles.All of this economic energy and technology is creating opportunity for start-ups as well as global automotive suppliers. Competition is fierce. Among the automotive OEMs who...

5 Ways to Create Procurement & Sourcing Value…

5 Ways to Create Procurement & Sourcing Value…

Sep 12, 2016

“5 Ways to Create Procurement & Sourcing Value Through Integrated Supply Chains” By Abe Eshkenazi, CEO, APICS EBN Online As many in supply chain management know, sourcing and procurement professionals are tightly linked to value in the supply chain; the price of locating and managing materials obviously effects profits. However, many fail to realize is value in the supply chain is derived from more than just calculating sales minus costs. In fact, “softer” skills like collaboration and relationship building may be just as important as unit price in creating customer value and reducing supply chain risk. There are a number of strategic ways that managers can add lasting value in sourcing and procurement. In the end, the most talented supply pros know that putting the biggest squeeze on suppliers doesn’t create the best value. As part of a partnership between APICS Supply Chain Council and Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business, the Supply Chain Management: Beyond the Horizon project explored the components of supply chain success, as well as examined elements of an organization’s business model, management, and interrelationships between the business model and supply chain operations. In the latest research report from the project, Creating Value Through Procurement and Sourcing Efforts in Integrated Supply Chains, five actions that executives believe are necessary to create value and enhance procurement practices are identified. Understand value In order to increase value, it’s important to readjust traditional ideas of what the word actually means in the supply chain. In procurement and sourcing, value has long been measured by unit costs, with successful professionals mastering the art of negotiation techniques to lower prices. However, cheaper items often are lower quality than their more expensive counterparts, which can lead to greater costs – and more risk – down the line. Additionally, time spent on replacing or supplementing low-cost units often translates to loss of productivity. So how do successful managers instead define value creation? The report shows that the nature of value for supply chain professionals has shifted toward a more rounded approach that measures tradeoffs and best value arrangements. Value in this sense includes forming collaborative relationships with suppliers, rather than those that are purely transactional,...

This New GE Factory Is A Blueprint For The Future Of…

This New GE Factory Is A Blueprint For The Future Of…

Sep 9, 2016

“This New GE Factory Is A Blueprint For The Future Of Manufacturing” By Mark Egan, GE Reports Welland has been known for decades as the city where the rails meet the water. But the Canadian transportation hub, notable for a canal that links Lake Ontario and Lake Erie with a cluster of railways, may soon redefine how we make things. That’s because GE broke ground on Friday on its latest “brilliant” factory here. It will be located just across the Canadian border from Buffalo, New York. The brilliant factory is GE’s new take on manufacturing. It involves machines that are embedded with sensors and connected to the Industrial Internet. The factory uses GE’s Predix software platform to stream data—over secure  links—into the cloud for analysis. Insights are then sent back to engineers with suggestions on how to improve operations. The divide between the lab and the factory also disappears in this approach, allowing for faster prototyping and commercialization of parts, according to Stephan Biller, chief manufacturing scientist at GE Global Research. Biller is one of the big brains behind the brilliant factory concept. He’s developing new ways to use data and analytics to transform factories into places that are constantly improving their operations and output . As a result, Biller says, factories no longer need to be located where labor is cheap, but can bloom where educated workers can make the most out of advanced technology. “By utilizing automation and the brilliant factory concepts, we are strengthening the base of North American manufacturing and equalizing the region’s ability to compete with countries where labor costs are cheaper,” Biller says. Welland makes a big point in his case. The city is located in Canada’s Ontario province where the manufacturing sector has been hit hard in recent years. It lost some 300,000 jobs between 2000 and 2014, according to a 2014 report by the Mowat Center at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. The report says that Canada can bring back jobs by supporting research, educating workers and committing to boosting productivity. GE says the new factory, which will make massive gas engines and other components for GE businesses, will employ 220...