Technology Trends Manufacturers Need to Survive

2014-05-03, by Diana

Right software can help any manufacturing company become a leader in their industryIn today’s technological world, things are changing fast. Technologies advance and rapidly become pervasive due to the compelling benefits they provide. As they mature, they drive up the price and performance ratios, making such ratios more enticing for companies looking for continuous improvement. Manufacturers need to stay on top of latest software and IT trends, or be left behind in the dust.

What are the biggest problems of manufacturing CEOs?

Manufacturing CEOs face a number of problems, such as effectively measuring and creating an impact on business performance of their various industrial enterprises. They are constantly looking for new opportunities to deploy new metrics programs, technologies, and processes that are capable of making a real difference, in real-time. When asked, manufacturing CEOs admit to commonly facing problems such as supplier costs, global competition, attracting talent, staying cost effective, creating dynamic culture, increases in raw material pricing, 3rd party supplier offering substandard parts, taxes, finding the right people – skilled and with the right attitude, overseas deliveries, and the list continues… But guess what, the right software can help eliminate many of these problems – and help with the biggest worry: staying competitive.

How are latest technologies impacting manufacturing?

Below are three prevalent technologies that are not only changing rapidly, but will continue to improve the manner in which manufacturing performance management operates today and in the future.

Mobile Manufacturing companies can benefit from Mobile SolutionsManufacturing systems have evolved to integrate the use of mobile devices and their applications that have eliminated the restrictions of required on-site access. They allow workers from various levels of the enterprise to access and view performance and decision support information that is applicable or relevant to their respective role, including Technical/Quality Personnel, Plant Operators, Plant Managers, and Supervisors, all the way up to company executives. Facilitating access to all these manufacturing roles via mobile devices has created an entirely new environment of paperless manufacturing. It has also allowed seamless sharing of information between manufacturers and customers, all via mobile capabilities.

Cloud Manufacturing Industry can greatly benefit from cloud solutionsWhile there’s still a gap between “pro-cloud” and “anti-cloud” as many business leaders across the world still have reservations about connectivity and security of cloud for manufacturing apps, the gap is closing rapidly as these issues become addressed to make the benefits of cloud adoption too enticing to ignore. Due to functionalities such as outsourced IT and automatic updates, cloud platforms will have to lower the cost of ownership especially for implementing manufacturing-performance software to make it much easier to integrate multiple manufacturing systems, plants, or facilities and compare performance.

Analytics Software for analytics and big data is crucial for manufacturing companies The future effects of Enterprise Big Data will fall on performance management. While cloud and mobile technologies create instant abilities in the manufacturing IT where none existed before, Big Data focuses on harnessing huge amounts of both structured and unstructured data from various platforms of the enterprise. With time, this will enable better production forecasts, improve interactions with suppliers, harness knowledge to provide better customers service and support, provide a better understanding of plant performance across metrics, improve delivery with geospatial information technologies and many others. All manufacturing companies need the latest technology manufacturing software for effective cross-functional management.

How should manufacturing executives manage their new IT systems?

When it comes to performance management, the best practices require new types of leadership, not only in the manufacturing industry, but across all industries. This new breed of leaders should be able to create engaged and motivated cross-functional teams, armed (to the teeth) with the right information and insights that will enable them to make the right impact, while performing their roles in their manufacturing enterprises. Understanding the IT sphere will become increasingly important, not only because it can help manage similar cross-functional teams, but also because it can help find solutions to the most pressing problems. This may be problematic for companies who don’t have highly specialized IT departments (if they have one at all), but there are a number of different services out there that can help maintain manufacturing management software, without investing enormous amount of resources.

Read next: “What can software developers do for manufacturing leaders?

Photo courtesy of Graphicstock

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