Consider the total product life cycle
As a sense of environmental-responsibility permeates every level of industry, many have adopted an operational ethos incorporating sustainability and waste-management, inextricably tied to the philosophy of lean thinking. However a current trend not only considers the life cycle of a product as running from raw materials to the end of the assembly line, but aims to understand the total journey of that product, including disposal by the consumer.
By considering what happens to a product once the intended user has finished with it can offer additional information not previously considered. For example, the positive impact of manufacturing a particular product out of recyclable materials would be negated if the recycling consumed more energy than the initial production, necessitating alternative materials to be sought. Assessing the total life cycle for a product provides manufacturers the chance to assess the bigger picture and more able to make informed decisions.
Complete IT overhaul
Though initially hesitant in regards to cloud computing, no doubt unsure over the technology’s relevance to them, a growing number of manufacturers have been making substantional investments to overhaul and update their IT infrastructure to better manage ‘big data’. For many the benefits offered by cloud computing relate to specific tasks, such as simplifying collaboration during the design process, streamlining business decisions and automating organisational processes. However more uses and benefits are sure to become apparent as organisations become more familiar with the technology.
The ability to access information anytime, anyplace, anyhow, has convinced a growing number of manufacturers to integrate wireless technology throughout their entire production. The ability for managers and supervisors to instantly communicate and share data with workers on the floor via the cloud streamlines decision-making and problem-solving, helping to raise operational efficiencies and output.
Truly embracing the digital age
In correlation with manufacturers improving their existing IT departments and acceptance of digital processes, more are beginning to utilise social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter to better promote themselves online. Businesses around the world have embraced digital marketing of this sort for some time now, but the manufacturing industry has, until now, been decidedly lacking in this respect. Related to a more effective online presence is a dynamic webpage, moving away from static pages solely there for clients to find, towards a means of relevant, direct, two-way communication, reinforced through social networks.