General Motors increased productivity tenfold by transitioning IT operations from 35 vendors to an in-house operation starting in 2012, according to Randy Mott, GM's global chief information officer. The changes mean GM has deep visibility into product profitability, is shipping more IT projects and is able to focus on innovation.
Evian has modernized its factory in the French Alps to a carbon-neutral bottling site that includes numerous automated manufacturing features. The mineral water company avoided layoffs by instituting a multimillion-dollar employee retraining program designed to retain workers by upgrading their skills.
Brenntag CEO Steve Holland discusses his efforts to break down physical and cultural barriers since taking over the company six years ago.
Cloud-based yard-management solutions more accurately account for intangible costs incurred by trailers that aren't in motion than traditional methods, writes Matt Yearling of PINC Solutions. Such solutions can also reduce the order-fulfillment cycle, he writes.
Counterfeit products will proliferate because of Chinese manufacturing and Amazon's entry into ocean freight, writes Randy Millwood of PopFoam. Manufacturers should be vigilant about design detail and security, affirm reliability of manufacturing partners and enlist customers as partners in product integrity, he writes.
Autonomous mobile robots make production and material handling more efficient because they don't rely on external guidance and can adjust rapidly, writes Ed Mullen of Mobile Industrial Robots. Damiano Marconi of NewForm says that "[t]he very simple integration software can easily communicate with both our machine tools and our data server, so we can easily track every piece, its position and condition in real-time."
Manufacturers with effective management practices can succeed further by incorporating the industrial internet of things, write Vineet Gupta and Rainer Ulrich of McKinsey. The IIoT can be quantified through four dimensions: connectivity, access, speed and making changes part of the organizational mindset.
The industrial internet of things will confer productivity and employee safety benefits to factories, Gary Eastwood writes. "Specific components needed for assembly lines can now be summoned from the other side of the globe, with automated processes ensuring all the parts in the plant are up to date without human oversight," he asserts.
A rising retirement rate among skilled workers and shifts in international trade patterns are among the factors creating a skilled-employee shortage in manufacturing, writes Eduardo Porter. Steps toward reducing the shortage include easier access to education and better child-care options, he writes.
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