Article | February 1, 2022
A strong supply chain in manufacturing reduces interruptions, which may cost delivery businesses substantial time and money, as well as degrade their brand.
Maintaining consistency is important in any form of business. However, the important question that remains to be answered here is how to achieve consistency when the driving factors seem to be out of the company’s direct reach.
“The future of manufacturing is a critical enabler of economies.”
– Kathryn Wengel
In this article, we'll highlight the five ways to create a strong supply chain that helps any business reduce the risk of disruption and, finally, cost. Furthermore, we will discuss the supply chain leader, Cisco Systems, and how it ranked first in the Gartner supply chain top 25 for 2021.
How Supply Chain in Manufacturing Is Different
A well-functioning organization requires an effective supply chain. However, supply chain management in manufacturing is even more vital.
Below are the three reasons why supply chain management is different and vital in manufacturing.
Products are more complex than they have ever been
Brand owners no longer manufacture their own products
Manufacturing is becoming more technologically advanced
5 Ways to Build a Strong Supply Chain
Strengthen Your Relationships
Strong relationships require both parties to be transparent and to continually aim for mutual benefit. Manufacturers in supply chain management must recognize the significance of building strong associations with vendors and should act likewise.The primary benefit of a great, healthy vendor relationship is that it enables you to maximize the value of your business. The more familiar you are with your suppliers, and the more familiar they are with you, the more likely you will receive personalized service, preferred pricing, and exclusive terms.
Effective supplier connections assist your business in the following ways.
Delivery of high-quality materials on time
Production goes off without a hitch
Take advantage of incredible deals
Saving your business time and money
Expand Your Supply Chain
Maintain good working relationships with multiple vendors to ensure the efficient operation of your supply chain. This encourages healthy competition, which might lead to reduced prices and better service. A diversified supply chain enables you to look outside the confines of your organization while also fostering innovation and more creative approaches.
Diversification of your supply chain provides flexibility, allowing you to adapt to changing market trends and consumer expectations. By diversifying your regional supply base, you may be able to provide more competitive rates on a local level.
Maintain Accurate Data
Both you and your supplier will inevitably suffer losses if your numbers are incorrect. Make sure your estimates are based on correct data or numbers and that you've taken into account all possible demand scenarios before drawing them. Collaborate with suppliers in the formulation of projections using your strong supplier ties. Under-and over-delivery and over-stocking can be avoided, and the likelihood of higher freight charges for urgent orders can be decreased.
Organize Integrated Systems
To make informed decisions at all levels of your business, you need a system that collects, integrates, and analyzes data. Supply chain integration is the process of establishing coordination and expanding connectivity across the whole supply chain, from procurement to production planning to logistics.
Advanced technological solutions have made supply chains more efficient and simplified than ever before. Software automation in supply chain management also helps in decreasing the stress on employees, minimizing errors, and improving resource utilization by utilizing high-quality software.
Always Have a Plan B
The risks associated with your supply chain can be reduced significantly, if not eliminated. An effective disaster recovery strategy is a contingency plan that must be prepared keeping in mind all the worst possibilities. There are numerous approaches to mitigating supply chain interruption, including regionalization, segmentation, and supply chain diversity.
Cisco Systems Tops the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25
For the second consecutive year, Cisco Systems is ranked first in Gartner's supply chain top 25. In addition, Gartner reports that the IT company's agility and competency in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts prioritized critical infrastructure for hospitals and vaccine research. Cisco's sustainability standards are integrated into its supply chain business processes to ensure continual improvement and the generation of significant change necessary to manage ESG.
Cisco established two new targets for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions after reaching specific, ambitious targets one year ahead of schedule: A 30% reduction in supply chain GHG emissions, and by 2025, 80% of Cisco's component, manufacturing, and logistics suppliers will have a public GHG emissions reduction objective.
A supply chain is a vital component of nearly all forms of business. If you are facing difficulty in effectively controlling your business's supply chain, consider the techniques suggested. The manufacturing supply chain process flow must be well-designed and well-executed to successfully complete the production cycle. Today's technology enables you to transform a complex supply chain into a simpler one that aids in risk anticipation and reduction. However, utilize this technology wisely and keep in mind that interpersonal relationships remain a critical component of supply chain success.
How to build a strong supply chain?
When developing a robust supply chain, flexibility, data, future thinking, integration, and innovation are some of the most significant factors to be kept in mind. Moreover, keeping a backup of everything is critical.
What factors characterize a strong supply chain?
Visibility, optimization, achieving the lowest feasible cost, punctuality, and consistency are key factors of a successful supply chain.
What is supply chain manufacturing?
In the manufacturing industry, the supply chain is responsible for facilitating the transfer and transportation of raw materials into finished products.
Article | March 4, 2022
Cyber manufacturing is a term that refers to a modern manufacturing system that allows for asset management, reconfiguration, and productivity maintenance in a way that is easy to see and use.
Industry 4.0 anticipates an era of enormous opportunity for innovation and prosperity. Additionally, it introduces new risks and challenges in today's manufacturing cyber scene.
“Cybersecurity is starting to become more prevalent within organizations, so opportunities to grow in this industry will never end if you have the correct drive and determination.”
– Joe Boyle, SEO of SaltDNA
Numerous manufacturing organizations are experiencing an increase in cyber-attacks on control systems used to oversee industrial processes. Some of these systems may include programmable logic controllers and distributed control systems, as well as embedded systems and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
To help you develop a strong and secure manufacturing operation, this article will outline the multiple sorts of cyber-attacks in manufacturing and how you may improve manufacturing security. Let's begin with the importance of cybersecurity in the manufacturing industry.
Why is Cybersecurity in Manufacturing Crucial?
From January to March of 2019, the number of ransomware attacks in the manufacturing industry has increased by 156%. This is a big change, so it's important to have strong cyber security in the manufacturing process. Wherever software is in use, there is a high probability of cyber-attacks. The manufacturing industry is digitizing itself with cutting-edge technologies connected via the internet and various software. Therefore, the manufacturing industry is particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The following are some of the key reasons why manufacturers should prioritize manufacturing cybersecurity:
Increase in the use of IoT devices in the industry
Increase in the cost of data breaches
Increase in the number of cyber-attacks across industries
Increase in the severity of cyber-attacks
Increase in the use of widely accessible hacking tools
Increase in the use of remote workers
Five Major Types of Manufacturing Cyber Attacks
Due to the rising value of ransomware, cybercriminals have switched their attention away from selling personal and financial data. Unfortunately, industrial companies stand to lose a lot. Until the hacker's demands are met, this malware locks files on a network and makes them impossible to use.
If a ransom (typically millions) is not paid, threat actors may sell or leak important data. Until the ransom is paid, ransomware users render the company's network inaccessible. This strategy works well for attackers in the manufacturing industry because downtime is costly, and no manufacturer would like to encounter it for a long time.
Ransomware assaults generally occur on weekends or holidays to maximize damage before the attack is realized. This allows hackers to wait in comfort during a busy manufacturing period. Manufacturing enterprises are a desirable target for numerous reasons. A wide network of OT devices and a long supply chain make many endpoints and security flaws.
Phishing is the most common type of network assault. Phishing emails are frequently used to gain access to a target firm to carry out further detrimental assaults or acts. For instance, in 2016, a CEO sent an email to a global solar panel manufacturer’s employee.
The email claimed that precise information about internal employees was required. The employee transmitted the data without confirming it. The CEO received the information. Unfortunately, the CEO was a cybercriminal, and the employee was phished, disclosing firm secrets. Perhaps the next generation of thieves will commit even more advanced and sophisticated penetrations and attacks.
Phishing attacks are characterized by the following characteristics:
Emails with malicious attachments
Emails with hyperlinks that differ from well-known websites and are misspelt
Emails with an attention-grabbing title or content
Emails from an unusual sender
Urgent orders or to-do items
Supply Chain Attacks
In the manufacturing business, no single firm can complete the entire production cycle. It must rely on several manufacturers' parts and components to complete the manufacturing and assembly of the entire product. As a result, numerous parties should coordinate to ensure an effective production process. This technique introduces the risk of supply chain attacks.
Numerous criminals utilize supply chain hacks to steal critical data and intellectual property rights from manufacturers. If a malicious attacker gets permission from the manufacturer's partner to access their network, they may steal critical information or data, and even essential manufacturing records, wreaking havoc on the business.
Additionally, manufacturers' external software or hardware poses security vulnerabilities, and there is a danger of attack along the equipment and system supply chain. Most products are developed using open-source or closed-source components, yet all these components have some level of security vulnerability.
The following are common indicators that your network has been compromised by a third party:
Incorrect usernames and passwords are used to access software systems
Strange redirects to unknown websites
Software freezes or crashes
As the intelligent transformation of manufacturing continues to progress, the Internet of Things' role in facilitating this process becomes increasingly critical. Manufacturers can optimize production processes more effectively and precisely by utilizing various IoT devices. For instance, businesses track assets, collect data, and perform analysis using IoT sensors embedded in devices. These sensors continuously monitor the various operating parameters of the equipment and critical data to enable automatic recovery and minimize maintenance downtime.
Increased security risks occur because of the proliferation of various IoT devices in manufacturing plants. IoT devices have networking capabilities and can be easily connected to a network. Typically, manufacturers' IoT, industrial control, and office networks are not adequately isolated. They can get into the industrial control network through public flaws or zero-day attacks on IoT devices. They can then launch malicious attacks on critical production equipment, which can stop production and cause processing accidents.
Most manufacturing cyber attacks are carried out by outsiders, but nearly 30% originate from insiders or those with access to the company. As with external hackers, these attacks are frequently motivated by financial gain. However, some employees or former employees attack a business out of rage or dissatisfaction.
Internal threat actors do not require network access. They can access sensitive data by leveraging their existing knowledge or credentials. A threat actor is more likely to carry out an attack invisibly and undetected with pre-existing credentials. Unfortunately, former employees can typically access this information if passwords or entry methods are not changed to prevent such attacks.
Because of the increased use of personal devices and remote work, employees can unintentionally be the cause of an internal breach. Most businesses were unprepared for the regulations that would accompany a global pandemic. As manufacturing companies looked for ways to stay afloat by maintaining employees remotely, few had the necessary technological equipment to keep each employee as safe as the company's employees.
Many home-based employees discovered that working from home was not easy, as the line between personal and work time became increasingly blurred and eventually vanished. For hackers, these home networks and the use of unprotected personal devices have opened a new avenue for obtaining sensitive data from large andsmall businesses.
How to Mitigate Manufacturing Cyber Attack
Make Sure Your Software Is up to Date
Install software patches to prevent attackers from exploiting known issues or vulnerabilities. Numerous operating systems include an automatic update feature. If available, ensure that this option is enabled.
Utilize Current Antivirus Software
Install software patches to prevent attackers from exploiting known issues or vulnerabilities. Numerous operating systems include an automatic update feature. Ensure that this option is enabled if it is available.
Make Use of Strong Passwords
Set up password rules. A stolen or default password is used in 63% of confirmed data breaches. Create strong passwords that are difficult to guess and use unique passwords for each program and device. Experts advise using passphrases or passwords of at least 16 characters.
Make Use of MFA Tool
MFA validates a user's identity using at least two identification components. This stops attackers from taking advantage of weak authentication mechanisms, which lowers the risk of someone getting into your account even if they know the login credentials.
Train Employees on Security Awareness
Security awareness training unites employees, eliminates risks and events, and protects both the company and the employees. Employees should also be taught how to look for and deal with threats like phishing.
Industry 4.0 is all about smart technologies that operate with the help of the internet. It increases the probability of manufacturing equipment and software being hacked. Therefore, while you intend to create a smart environment in your manufacturing facility, you must take the necessary cyber security measures.
The strategies mentioned in this article to mitigate the cyber-attacks will ensure that you take every precaution to keep the working environment safe. There are many ways to protect your manufacturing business from cyberattacks. The techniques and the types of attacks described in this article will help you know what to opt for and which attacks to look for in your manufacturing business.
What are the most common cyber security threats?
Phishing attacks are the most common cyber security threats that employees fall for. With the advancement of phishing attacks, many employees lack the knowledge necessary to spot a phishing email. Additionally, many employees have poor cyber security practices, such as using the same password for work and personal devices, which is also one of the reasons for rising phishing attacks.
What are the cyber security challenges in Industry 4.0?
Smart factories are vulnerable to the same types of attacks as conventional networks, including vulnerability exploitation, malware, denial of service (DoS), device hacking, and other typical attack tactics.
What is CPS in manufacturing?
CPS (Cyber Physical Systems) are defined as designed systems that are comprised of and reliant on the seamless integration of computer algorithms and physical components.
Article | May 18, 2022
Multi-channel selling is a significant component of manufacturing. Modern buyers expect more from their buying experience, and one of them is being able to access different touchpoints to make a purchase. It is a challenge that modern businesses must address. And it all starts with prudent warehouse inventory management. But how can businesses stay ahead of the curve with a complex web of retail, wholesale, ecommerce, and logistics? This is precisely where multi-channel inventory management comes in.
Multi-channel inventory management is the process of managing and keeping track of inventory sold from multiple locations through various selling channels. In this article, we will talk about how smart inventory management for a business with multiple sales channel can increase profits when done right.
How C-Suites Can Unravel the Complex Web of Multi-Channel Selling
When it comes to optimizing and addressing challenges in inventory management, warehouse management software is known to do wonders. But, when a business uses multiple channels to reach out to more consumers, generate more sales, and increase brand awareness, it also merits a holistic strategy.
Management at the inventory level is key to fully unlock its revenue potential in a multi-channel marketplace. When C-levels are looking for ways to optimize operations, inventory management presents a massive opportunity. It is possible to solve many bottlenecks using proven strategies and established information and automation best practices.
“Continuous process improvement by definition is ongoing. A static value proposition is hackneyed in no time.”
Thomas R. Cutler, President and CEO, TR Cutler, Inc.
Loss from Overstocking and Phantom Stocks
Unoptimized inventory allocation is one of the costliest and most common challenges faced by multi-channel businesses. According to research commissioned by OrderDynamics, businesses worldwide lose over $471 billion from overstocking and $634 billion from out-of-stock orders.
As a multi-channel seller, you must ensure that each channel has the corresponding inventory. Not doing so can lead to order cancellations or delays, or unsold stock. All of these can significantly reduce your profit margin.
The Solution: Real-time Inventory Visibility
Giving your warehouse managers the clarity they need in manufacturing inventory management can tackle the problem of overstocking. In addition, inventory management tools update inventory levels in real-time, so they don’t have to keep a close eye on inventory at every channel. Additionally, a synchronized inventory storage system can also help boost productivity and improve customer experience.
Whether you use a periodic or continuous inventory management system, adding automation and integration with other tools will only help in providing clarity and flexibility.
Slowdown in Logistics Due to Unoptimized Warehouse Space
Distributed inventory is another aspect of multi-channel inventory management that can be used to create more traction and profit. Warehouse space is valuable for multi-channel businesses.
With scattered locations and fluctuating demands, it can be difficult to forecast the optimal distribution of inventory across all channels as well as warehouse locations.
According to manufacturing.net, about 20 to 30% of the inventory in a warehouse is obsolete. This clearly indicates the need to fully utilize storage and eliminate hurdles in warehouse inventory management.
The Solution: Supply Chain Forecasting
A combination of automation technologies can be used to build a multi-channel inventory management stack. The first is using demand sensing, an automation technology that uses real-time data to identify and anticipate short-term demand patterns. Sporting apparel giant, Nike has used demand sensing to effectively cut down on lead times by weeks.
Another technology to consider in optimizing your warehouse space is Multi-Echelon Inventory Management, or MEIO. It has a holistic approach where it performs planning, optimization and forecasting across the supply chain. MEIO is also the answer to the scalability of modern multi-channel inventory management that offers comprehensive visibility and efficient rebalancing of inventory in real-time.
Considering that 51% of sellers still lack forecasting software, as per a Zentail survey, the opportunity for C-levels is immense.
Final Thoughts: Getting Impressively High Returns
When done right, optimizing all aspects of multi-channel order management can yield impressive returns. The use of technology in automation and data analytics makes it easier to decode the complexities of a multi-channel operation. A storage and inventory management system may not have all the answers to the profitability puzzle. It is assured to lead to reduced inventory costs, improved performance of the supply chain network, and better responsiveness. This inevitably creates a powerful revenue generating multi-channel business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my existing ERP work as multichannel inventory management software?
ERPs like SAP, Netsuite, or Oracle are designed to manage back-office processes and lack the specialization required to manage ecommerce and wholesale processes. Although they come with integrated solutions, their quality may not be up to the mark.
What is the cost of multichannel inventory management software?
While inventory management software ranges from free to thousands of dollars, the base price varies as per functionality. Some software services charge extra depending on the scale, volume, and integrations.
What are the primary techniques of inventory management?
Most manufacturers use three primary techniques to address challenges in inventory management: the pull strategy, the push strategy, and the just-in-time (JIT) strategy.
Article | December 14, 2021
The manufacturing industry has evolved to new heights of innovation, productivity, and excellence with digital transformation. Manufacturing digitalization has made operational procedures more skilled, accurate, and time-savvy.
“Many companies simply are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology; consumer demands, the way we work, human needs and much more are constantly changing.”
Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive (Manufacturing) at Microsoft
With a CAGR of 19.48 percent between 2021 and 2026, the digital transformation in the manufacturing market is expected to reach USD 263.93 billion by 2026. Manufacturing plants adopt digital technology to improve, automate, and modernize processes as part of Industry 4.0.
So, what are the key benefits of digitalization for manufacturers? This article will elaborate on the top five benefits of digital manufacturing transformation.
How to Define Digital Manufacturing?
Manufacturing digital transformation involves integrating digital technologies into processes and products to improve manufacturing efficiency and quality. Manufacturing's digital transformation aims to increase operational efficiency and reduce expenses. The digital transformation techniques ensure product quality. It also makes work more efficient, safe, and stress-free.
What Is Included in Manufacturing Digitization (Industry 4.0)?
Industry 4.0 is the digitalization of manufacturing. Cyber-physical systems, IoT, and cloud computing are current trends in manufacturing automation and data exchange. Connected devices, cloud computing power, and the modern emphasis of lean, efficient operations enable Industry 4.0 to construct advanced and innovative smart factories.
Industry 4.0 includes design, sales, inventories, scheduling, quality, engineering, customer and field service.
Five Benefits of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
Manufacturing organizations can benefit from digitalization in a variety of ways. It can help make the work more efficient, decentralized, and secure. It further creates new business opportunities and attracts new talent to the industry. Additionally, integrating products into a digital ecosystem increases their value and appeal. Let’s dig deeper into each of the five key benefits.
Technology is an invaluable companion in reducing the manufacturing company's expenses in the future. The incorporation of digital technology results in the transformation of procedures and the digitization of documents, resulting in overall process optimization. Therefore, a reduction in labor costs might be expected as a result of the elimination of unnecessary expenditures.
Additionally, digitization enables businesses to assess and estimate expenses considerably more precisely, ensuring that budgets stay on track. Additionally, it eliminates andsubstitutes inefficient jobs within processes, significantly increasing their efficiency. This efficiency is translated into time savings, which results in a substantially more cost-effective manufacturing process.
Manufacturing digital transformation allows organizations to supervise manufacturing remotely, allowing production to continue uninterrupted. In rare cases like Covid-19, digitalized businesses have not had to cease or even slow down production. These systems can work without interruptions for much longer than any worker.
Digitalization also boosts methodology flexibility and reactivity. For example, if a production plant has a problem, an automatic alert is generated, and the issue is resolved regardless of the day, time, or presence.
Improved Operational Efficiency
Smart product connectivity allows devices to connect and communicate with each other (M2M). This connectivity enables decentralized decision-making. Many duties no longer require an employee to be physically present. New manufacturing and production models minimize boring, risky activities while increasing accuracy, efficiency, and responsiveness.
Transforming businesses through digital means making better decisions based on real-time data. Training, changes, and repairs are no longer issues due to reduced frequency and automation.
New Business Opportunities
New digital technologies enable the manufacture of previously unviable products and services, generating new revenue streams. Also, new services (innovation or reorientation) are launched considerably faster. Companies may utilize big data and AI to experiment, anticipate trends, and predict about new advancements. These technologies can help organizations become more eco-friendly and create products that are less detrimental to our environment.
Attracts New Talent
Professionals with fundamental talents in this complicated and disruptive environment are drawn to digitalizedorganizations that are up-to-date with trends and processes. Also, if the change is managed well, it will lead to higher profitability, increasing employee satisfaction. Human motivation, along with excellent digital technologies, will reflect in the company's production and profitability.
Dusseldorf@Germany: The Deloitte Digital Factory
The digital factory in Dusseldorf provides a flexible setting for innovative workshops and training, bringing together the old and new worlds of supply chain and industrial operations to provide a seamless experience. Specific use case examples, as well as the digital solutions sector, will motivate and encourage businesses to get on their digital transformation journeys, making use of the most up-to-date technologies in the process.
Manufacturing digitalization has a lot to offer the industry, and many manufacturers are capitalizing on this new phase of the industrial revolution by incorporating cutting-edge technologies into manufacturing and business operations. As said previously, the benefits of digital transformation in the manufacturing business are increasing the importance of digitalization in the industry. Transform your traditional manufacturing operating processes with these new manufacturing trends and observe the results that other benefitting manufacturing businesses have achieved.
Why is digitalization vital in manufacturing?
Manufacturing process digitization improves overall business performance. But the results are seen across the factory. Digital transformation improves working conditions for employees and streamlines daily operations.
How are digitization and digitalization different?
Digitalization is a transformation of data and processes. Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to collect data, identify patterns, and make better business decisions.
How digital technologies are applied in manufacturing?
Digital manufacturing technologies enable the integration of systems and processes across all stages of production, from design to production and beyond.