Imagine having virtually no raw material inventory on hand because all of the components and parts that you need can be made on demand.
Imagine having virtually no finished goods inventory on hand because you can make the products precisely when ordered in real time and have them personalized or customized to a customer’s individual specifications.
While this may sound far fetched the incredible advances in 3D Printing, or On Demand Manufacturing, are helping to bring these capabilities closer to the realm of possibility.
We hear about all of this cool and exciting new technology every day. Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Drones and Autonomous Vehicles, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Big Data and more.
As such it’s easy to become enamoured with the prospects of implementing these brand new technologies in your company.
But for many companies they are struggling each and every day just to get the basics right. Ensuring deliveries are on time, making sure purchase orders are placed, changed, and acknowledged, keeping track of and reducing inventory levels, managing forecasts and forecast accuracy, and training and retaining resources are just a few of the basics that companies are working vigilantly to address every hour of every day.
Given pressures to reduce costs, improve productivity, increase competitiveness and increase asset velocity what should your strategic focus be?
All of the technologies that we hear about every day, from Blockchain to Virtual Reality, have many areas of applicability in both our personal and business lives.
But in the area of Supply Chain, which truly spans the entire operations of most any company, these technologies provide the platform to totally redefine how the work of Supply Chain is conducted every minute of every day.
I remember that car as clearly as I remember banging with my fist on it’s ceiling singing Tom Petty’s Makin’ Some Noise.
Days and years went by, and eventually, the ’93 Ford Escort was living in the hybrid-dominated world of the year 2004. My mom decided that the Escort had seen better days, and started a new/used car hunt. She soon selected the Prius as her car of choice for its environmentally friendly features. The Escort joined its fellow junk metal comrades in an automotive-parts junkyard a few miles away from my childhood home.
The Internet of Things — IoT, for short — is made up of devices that connect to the internet and share data with each other. IoT devices include computers, laptops, smartphones, and objects that have been equipped with chips to gather and communicate data over a network.
IoT devices have become a part of the mainstream electronics culture that people have adopted into. It is estimated that there will be up to 21 billion IoT devices by 2020, impacting how we interact with basic everyday objects.
There are several things to note about the IoT as it becomes more mainstream, as a key element of the Digital Supply Chain.
This post concludes our two part series on the “Changing Face of Manufacturing.” In this series, we first wrote about how manufacturers are now looking at total landed costs when deciding where they will place manufacturing facilities along with Manufacturing technology.
Increasingly, those companies, who offshored to China and other countries in the 80s and 90s, are now taking a hard look at reshoring and possibly setting up manufacturing operations in Mexico, or bringing those facilities back to American shores.
There are many components of how Industry 4.0 is changing, some of which are not yet fully defined, or fully understood. Other components may emerge as technology is continually emerging. These new tools are sure to amplify the prospective results of Smart Manufacturing solutions.
There has been much learning from both the initial sales interactions and actual installations. In the sales cycles, providers of Smart Manufacturing components or integrators of complete 4.0 systems have encountered resistance.
Some of the push-back is driven by the fear of disruption of production, loss of revenue or customer dissatisfaction. Others are concerned about not attaining the “expected” ROI.
However, one of the biggest areas of resistance has to do with the workforce and the prospective impacts on company culture.
According to a recent survey conducted by Forbes Insights, 65% of logistics, supply chain and transportation executives acknowledge the necessity to revamp existing models and add flexibility to business operations in order to ensure omnichannel delivery, reduce costs and meet the ever-shifting consumer demand. through digital transformation.
In fact, 72% of enterprises involved in planning, executing and monitoring the flow of products from the point of origin to the point of consumption consider improved customer experience the key benefit of business transformation.
The path to increased operational efficiency and customer satisfaction lies in the digitalization of logistics workflows.