Flexible Manufacturing: An Investment in Your Company’s Efficiency
What is Flexible Manufacturing?
Since the 1970s, flexible manufacturing systems have helped companies to create products quickly and more efficiently. It is designed to react and adapt to changes, unexpected issues, or problems with the production process. Today, Flexible manufacturing systems still work to improve the production process and offer two types of flexibility: machine and routing flexibility.
Machine flexibility refers to how much a system can change to create new product types. It also describes how a system can change the order of operations on a specific part. Routing flexibility is the ability of a system to use many machines to perform the same operations on one part. It also refers to how much a system can adapt to changes in volume, capacity, or capability.
The overall goal of flexible manufacturing is to increase a company’s manufacturing efficiency. However, there are both disadvantages and advantages to consider.
Disadvantages of Flexible Manufacturing
Implementing flexible manufacturing in the production process can be complicated. It requires extensive planning, which can involve creating detailed designs and schedules. They require highly skilled employees to operate the machinery, and salaries for these workers can be expensive. Plus, a different set of skilled workers is needed for maintenance and repairs because of the complexity of the systems. Although the disadvantages of flexible manufacturing systems can make some companies wary, it’s important to understand that the benefits will likely outweigh the drawbacks in the long run.
Technology Teammates for Manufacturing Companies
Manufacturing has been the backbone of economic development, supporting organizations that cater to consumer demand. Industry is no longer limited to outdated assembly lines. New tools and solutions, such as flexible manufacturing, robotics, and big data help factories meet greater demand at a lower cost. To help your manufacturing processing team grow, consider adding these strategies to your line up:
Five Lessons about Lean Manufacturing
Initiating and then sustaining a Lean Manufacturing strategy can be a daunting task, typically requiring your business to make a cultural and process transformation. If your company is looking to achieve Lean Manufacturing success, here are a few lessons to follow:
“Up-skilling” – An Investment in Education for Workers
In a tight labor market, searching for new workers with a specific skill set to enhance an automated production line is challenging for human resource recruiters. The capabilities of these new workers can be readily applied to new manufacturing technology with proper training and “up-skilling.” In the manufacturing industry, it is imperative that workers take the initiative to learn new skills in preparation for the continued rise of automation if they want to remain relevant in their fields.
Why Defining Supply Chain Visibility is a Struggle
Supply chain visibility is crucial to success in manufacturing. However, lack of synchronization in workflow often occurs when the workers can’t fully comprehend the activities one level below or above their place in the supply chain. While it can be a struggle defining supply chain visibility between your departments and workers, the benefits are worth the effort. Start by getting staff talking about what the commonalities in each worker’s definition and grow from there. It is possible to increase visibility and transparency across every stage of the supply chain to help get workers on the same page to understand its importance.
Myth of Manufacturing: A Dead-End Career
The early days of manufacturing are not depicted as good ones for workers. School history books show people working hard in dirty jobs without much of a future. However, today’s thriving industrial marketplace reveals a different story. Manufacturing is a safe and stimulating place to work and a vital contributor to our economy.
Benefits of Remaining Current With Your ISO Standard for Small Manufacturers
There are many reasons it is beneficial to keep ISO standard up-to-date, including:
It allows the business to continue to grow and move forward while keeping a competitive advantage over those manufacturing companies that choose to not remain current or implement an ISO standard.
IoT and Technology in the Future of Manufacturing
According to Forbes.com, The Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of any device with an on or off switch to the internet and/or to each other, for example, cellphones, refrigerators, home security tools, etc. This also applies to components of machines, such as a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. The Internet of Things generally communicates by cameras or sensors embedded in its design. As technology continues to advance, the vision driving IoT portrays how smart, connected tech will continue to help humans in skilled and manual tasks. This will be done by giving them access to context-sensitive insights that answer specific questions at the right point in time.
Focusing on Workers’ Skills Instead of Credentials
The reality is that through the ups and downs of the manufacturing business cycle, it has become increasingly difficult to fill good-paying jobs due to a lack of qualified candidates.
Automated inventory management for small manufacturers
Inventory management is an integral part of manufacturing year-round, but the bustle of the holidays can add to an already hectic workload. Bar codes are an essential tool to help manage inventory and workflow. The benefits of bar codes are many, such as reducing workload, sending alerts when production slows, or inventory is low, and processing workflow accurately.
Community Impact Stimulates the Manufacturing Multiplier Effect
Ever wonder whether or not having manufacturing within your local community is valuable? Significant research has been performed regarding the economic benefit of manufacturing, and it is the driver of a healthy, vibrant community. The impact of manufacturing is so significant on both local and regional economies that it has been given a name: The Manufacturing Multiplier Effect.
Outstanding Customer Service Makes or Breaks Small Manufacturers
Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies like Uber, Amazon, and Netflix have changed the way that consumers think about customer service. Other companies have taken the hint and prioritized customer service and convenience, from tech companies like Apple and Dell, luxury brands like Ritz-Carlton and Mercedes-Benz, customer relationship savants like American Express and GoPro, and everyone in between. This shift in B2C relationships has also impacted business-to-business (B2B) relationships, causing customers to expect more from their manufacturing suppliers.
Five Advantages of Working with Small Manufacturers
Getting the right prototypes, components, design, and fabrication are essential to keeping your business running smoothly. When quality work, attention to detail, quick turnaround, and distinctive design are top priorities, there’s no better partner than a local manufacturer. Smaller, local manufacturers give clients unique advantages that larger, regional, national or international corporations simply can’t.
How Local Manufacturers Can Lead the Future
New technology, changes in the labor market, and new trends often reach large manufacturing corporations first, however, big businesses also encounter big challenges when making changes. Implementation often requires full participation from every employee, sector, and region. With foresight and planning, smaller local manufacturers can act with more agility and implement new technology and use trends to their advantage on a smaller scale, faster.
ApprenticeshipUSA Expands From $90 to $200 Million
The skills gap affecting manufacturing businesses may see a solution in a new initiative. Working with advisor Ivanka Trump, private enterprises, industry associations, democrats and republicans, President Trump and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta outlined a plan to reorganize existing labor programs and make apprenticeships more accessible. The reorganization of the ApprenticeshipUSA program aims to make good on Trump’s campaign promise to create more jobs, such as the 2 million unfilled manufacturing jobs looming in the next decade, part of 6 million unfilled jobs across multiple industries.
How to Prevent Ransomware and Denial of Service Attacks
Last month, a cyberattack using the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm locked almost a quarter of a million systems across 150 countries. WannaCry affected Britain’s National Health Service, Spain’s telecommunications giant Telefonica, Japan’s Nissan, China’s PetroChina and FedEx in America, among thousands of other businesses. Though the cyberattack was halted by Microsoft’s speedy security patch and a blogger’s discovery of a kill switch, thousands of dollars were paid in just four days as businesses scrambled to get their data back.
Environmental Policies Benefit Manufacturers
Sustainable and environmentally-conscious operations secure longevity and safety for future generations, but these considerations also impact businesses’ finances, reputations, hiring practices, and many other aspects. Initiating or strengthening positive environmental policies not only helps the Earth, but it can also provide a number of benefits for manufacturers of all sizes.
The New Industrial Revolution—Robotics
Like sci-fi movie come true, today’s robots have the capabilities to take humans out of harm’s way and do the dangerous, dirty, repetitive tasks that humans simply shouldn’t have to—though they may also cause serious disruption in the jobs market. The first robots being widely used on the job show what we can expect from future robotics, what jobs may be affected, and how this technology can be utilized without causing upheaval in the jobs market.