Posted By David Brousell, September 13, 2016
When I think about the journey that manufacturers are undertaking to reach the promised land of Manufacturing 4.0, the old joke about Carnegie Hall often pops up in my mind.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall, the man asks? Answer: practice!
Well, it is certainly going to take a great deal of experimentation, trial and error, and, yes, practice with the new technologies and methods that constitute Manufacturing 4.0 for manufacturers to reap the benefits of this next wave of industrial progress. But it is going to take a lot more than just practice.
What manufacturers need most to make the journey as smooth as possible is a real thought-out strategy that sets clear goals, defines objectives, anticipates challenges, and lays out an implementation plan that can be achieved. Now, that may seem like a routine formula, one that every company practices as a matter of course. But - trust me – it isn't.
More women in key manufacturing leadership positions would help companies improve their business performance, including decision-making and even profitability and shareholder value, panelists at the 6th Women in Manufacturing Summit said.. Read More →
The Manufacturing Leadership Council's new Critical Issues agenda identifies a set of business and technology issues and subjects that will enable manufacturers to establish a clear focus and approach to Manufacturing 4.0. Read More →
We often hear manufacturers based in the U.S. and Europe say that, even if wanted to bring production back from Asia and other low-cost locations, they couldn’t because the very specialized supplier networks that they would need have atrophied or disappeared in their home markets. Apparel giant Nike, Inc., recently announced a unique partnership with a large private equity company designed to address this challenge and allow it to enhance what it calls “regional manufacturing capabilities” while allowing for quicker delivery of customized products to consumers and improving sustainability through reshoring. Read More →
We frequently hear manufacturers complain that recent graduates who they hire often turn out to lack the kind of knowledge and workforce readiness required to for them to become productive on the job quickly. A diploma from a community college, a career technical education center, or even a well-known university these days doesn’t guarantee that your new hire has mastered all—or even most--of the competencies need to excel on the job. This, say manufacturers, is an important component of a growing skills shortage. Read More →
Manufacturing company executives say that a technology trend that will contribute to their growth is connectivity and the use of the information that is generated from it. Read More →
Manufacturers across all vertical industries are poised to dramatically ramp up investments in smart products, digitized processes and related technologies, skills, and training over the next four years, significantly altering the competitive landscape and putting at risk manufacturers that fail to keep pace, according to a research report recently released by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Read More →
Is your company a leader or an also-ran in the race to Manufacturing 4.0? One way to answer that question is to benchmark against a few competitors to determine if your latest digitally-enabled project or process is world class or just table stakes. That can be time-consuming and expensive, however. Another great way to answer that question is to nominate your breakthrough project or individual leader’s achievements for a Manufacturing Leadership Award. Read More →
Perhaps one of the most uncharted implications of the journey to Manufacturing 4.0 is how new digital technologies, pervasive sensor networks, lean production models, smart products, and advanced new materials can help the global manufacturing industry achieve higher levels of sustainability in their operations. Green manufacturing also saves money. Sometimes, a whole lot of money. Read More →
Manufacturers invest lots of money and intellectual capital defining and documenting the philosophies and standard practices under which they want their plants to operate. Operations bibles such as the legendary Toyota Production System not only lay out standard operating procedures aimed at driving up quality and productivity, they also reflect the cultural aspirations of the manufacturing enterprise. Read More →
Sportswear maker Under Armour has come up with a new, Manufacturing 4.0-inspired, customized manufacturing model based on a powerful combination of creative design, rapid innovation, extensive digital automation, in-house strategic partners, and local production – all under one roof. Read More →