Supply chains that don't eliminate silos won't be able to keep up with customer expectations of rapid order fulfillment, Nick Foy of ModusLink writes. Three indicators of being stuck in a silo are geo-specific operations, failure to implement end-to-end solutions and lack of oversight of the entire operation.
Irish building supply company CRH will buy Ash Grove Cement for $3.5 billion in a deal expected to close by early next year, according to a statement. Ash Grove has eight US plants that make cement.
Distributed order management systems are essential for supporting omnichannel distribution, but the percentage of distributors using them has been flat in recent years, writes Chris Cunnane. Reluctance stems from the difficulty of implementation and increased customer demand for flexibility, he writes.
Companies routinely focus their business-to-business content on what they can do rather than what customers want, according to Forrester analyst Laura Ramos. Potential customers also strongly desire data and tend to favorably view infographics.
Accept how rapidly change is going to occur, Jeffrey Magee advises electrical distributors, and engage your employees in taking on its challenges. Magee provides eight suggestions for coping with imminent change, advising breaking implementation down into realistic subtasks and focusing on long-term rewards.
Using software to apply a predictive maintenance approach can prolong equipment life and reduce costs. One supplier, for example, avoided an unexpected line shutdown through sensors that warned of excessive vibration levels and prompted a pre-emptive repair.
Next-generation data analytics are transforming manufacturing, as companies are "looking very systematically at everything they do, from the methods they use to make things, [to] technologies like 3-D printing and additive printing, all the way to their business models," says Jon Sobel, CEO of Sight Machine. He notes the big data software market has the potential to grow from almost nothing to over $1 billion within five years.
Internet of things applications to industrial control networks are creating unprecedented access and data, but the downside is cybersecurity vulnerability, writes Josh Jabs of Entrust Datacard. The most effective security systems protect data and users across entire ecosystems, he writes.
Data devoid of analysis and smart use by decision makers will do nothing to help manufacturers be more productive, write Serg Posadas and Brad Young of Clockwork Solutions. "There is little value in collected data unless you can use the data to obtain insights that turn into process-improving action," Young writes.
Complacency is a danger for manufacturers who have invested time and money in safety programs and want them to work indefinitely, writes Ward Metzler of DuPont Sustainable Solutions. Manufacturers have to regularly engage with employees to identify and prioritize hazards and recognize that people make risk-related decisions based on emotion, he writes.
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