Article | December 21, 2021
Consumer demand has shifted dramatically in recent years, and manufacturers are trying to adapt to this shift. To maintain high product quality, minimize costs, and optimize supply chains, manufacturing analyticshas become essential for manufacturers.
Manufacturing analyticsis the process of gathering and analyzing data from various systems, equipment, and IoT devices in real-time to get essential insights.
As technology takes over and enhances many of the processes we used to handle with manual labor, we are freed up to use our minds creatively, which leads to bigger and better leaps in innovation and productivity.
– Matt Mong
Manufacturing analyticscan assist in maintaining production quality, boost performance with high-profit returns, decrease costs, and optimize supply networks.
This article will outline manufacturing analyticsand present a list of possible application cases. It will also highlight the benefits of manufacturing analyticsfor any shop floor or factory.
Manufacturing analytics: An Overview
With manufacturing analytics, we can streamline and speed up the entire process. Data interchange and automation helps in speeding up the production process. Manufacturing analyticsuses predictive manufacturing, big data, Industrial IoT, network virtualization, and machine learningto produce better scalable production solutions.
Manufacturing analyticscollects and analyses data from many sources via sensors embedded in machinery to identify areas for improvement. Data is collected and presented in an easy-to-understand structure to illustrate where difficulties emerge throughout the process.
In short, manufacturing analyticscollects and analyses large volumes of data to reveal insights that might improve performance. Users can also obtain automated business reports to reply in real-time.
Why Manufacturing analytics is Vital for Leading Businesses
There are numerous benefits of manufacturing analyticsthat drive any company’s production and overall manufacturing business growth. The benefits of manufacturing analyticsfall into three distinct categories as below.
It reduces the overall cost: Analytics may save a significant amount of money if used more efficiently. Labor costs are also reduced due to automation and semi-autonomous machinery. Similarly, preventive and prescriptive maintenance programs may save money while enhancing productivity.
It boosts profits for businesses: Manufacturers can respond swiftly to changes in demand using real-time insights in production, inventory management, and demand and supply forecasting. For example, assume the data indicates that they are approaching their maximum capacity. In such instances, they can increase over time, increase capacity, modify procedures, or tweak other production areas to adapt and maintain delivery times.
Other unforeseen benefits: There are several advantages to the increased capabilities enabled by manufacturing analytics. These benefits include lower energy use, safer environmental practices, fewer compliance failures, and more customer satisfaction.
Five Real-world Applications of Manufacturing Analytics
A machine's analytics uses aggregate data from real-time detectors to anticipate when it needs to be replaced or functioning irregularly. This process helps predict machine failure or equipment defects.
Analytics can assist in determining a plant's capacity and how many products are produced by the unit in every production cycle, which is helpful in capacity planning. In addition, analytics may help determine the ideal number of units to create over time by considering capacity, sales predictions, and parallel schedules.
Predictive analytics solutions can automate maintenance requests and readings that shortens the procedure and reduce maintenance expenses.
Product development is an expensive process in manufacturing. As a result, businesses must invest in R&D to develop new product lines, improve existing models, and generate new value-added services.
Earlier, this approach was in place by repeated modeling to get the finest outcome. This approach can now be modeled to a large extent, with the help of data science and technologically superior analytics. Real-world circumstances can be replicated electronically using "digital twins" and other modeling approaches to anticipate performance and decrease R&D expenses.
Many factors that might help in the plan significant capital expenditures or brief breakdowns can be explained using historical data and a few high-impact variable strategies. For example, consider the seasonality of products like ice cream. As a result, historical market data and a few high-impact factors can help explain numerous variables and plan major capital expenditures or short-term shutdowns.
In addition to demand forecasting, predictive analytics incorporates advanced statistical techniques. With predictive analytics, a wide range of parameters, including customer buying behavior, raw material availability, and trade war implications, may be taken into consideration.
Warranty support may be a load for many manufacturers. Warranties are frequently based on a "one-size-fits-all" approach that is broader. This approach introduces uncertainty and unanticipated complications into the equation.
Products may be modified or updated to decrease failure and hence expense by using data science and obtaining information from active warranties in the field. It can also lead to better-informed iterations for new product lines to minimize field complaints.
Managing Supply Chain Risks
Data may be recorded from commodities in transit and sent straight from vendor equipment to the software platform, helping to enable end-to-end visibility in the supply chain.
Manufacturing analyticsallows organizations to manage their supply chains like a "control tower," directing resources to speed up or slow down. They may also order backup supplies and activate secondary suppliers when demand changes.
Businesses should adapt to changing times. Using analytics in manufacturinghas altered the business industry and spared it from possible hazards while boosting production lines. Industry 4.0's route has been carved. Manufacturing analyticsis the key to true Industry 4.0, and without it, the data produced by clever IoT devices is meaningless. The future is data-driven, and success will go to those who are ready to adopt it. The faster adoption, the sooner firms go ahead of the competition.
How can data analytics help manufacturers?
Data analytics tools can help manufacturers analyze machine conditions and efficiency in real-time. It enables manufacturers to do predictive maintenance, something they were previously unable to accomplish.
Why is data so crucial in manufacturing?
Data helps enhance manufacturing quality control. Manufacturers can better understand their company's performance and make changes by collecting data. Data-driven manufacturing helps management to track production and labor time, improve maintenance and quality, and reduce business and safety concerns.
What is Predictive Manufacturing?
Predictive manufacturing uses descriptive analytics and data visualization to offer a real-time perspective of asset health and dependability performance. In addition, it helps factories spot quality issues and takes remedial action quicker by eliminating the waste and the cost associated with it.
Article | December 10, 2021
A new form of robot is entering manufacturing plants all around the globe. Instead of being locked away in their own work cell, collaborative robots work side by side with their human counterparts. Together, they form the manufacturing crew of the future.
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are more flexible, easy to use, and safer than industrial robots. Instead of ending up abandoned in a corner, they are proving to be serious expansions of production capacity leading to better ways of creating superior quality products.
1.1 A New Breed of Bot
Cobots are a new type of automation product with their own ISO standards for safety and usability. For a robot to qualify as a cobot, it has to be used for tasks of a collaborative nature while sharing all or part of its reach space with human operators. So it is not the product alone that classifies it as a cobot.
Industrial robots must be expertly programmed for one specific job along the production line. This requires hard line coding and endless tweaking and testing, which together with other factors make for a sizable upfront investment. Not so with collaborative robots.
Cobots may look similar to traditional robots in some ways, but they are much easier to install and program. This foregoes the need to cooperate with a robotic integration service. Their lightweight and friendly form factor lets manufacturers conveniently relocate them on the shopfloor from one project to another.
This renders the robotics technology perfect for a data-driven, Industry 4.0 work environment. Cobots can side with traditional machinery and additive manufacturing equipment, aided by artificial intelligence and cloud connectivity while embedded in a networked environment rich with smart sensors and mixed reality interfaces.
1.2 A Unique Blend of Benefits
Because it is fairly straightforward to reprogram a cobot to various tasks, they are perfect for high-mix, low-volume work to meet the rising demand for ultra-customized products.
They can also do multiple tasks in unison, such as alternatingly loading a machine and finishing parts from the previous cycle. Here are some other advantages in addition to flexibility:
• Low investment. Cobots typically cost a fraction of the price of an industrial robot, but they offer much lower payload and reach. ROI is typically one to two years.
• Safety. With rounded surfaces, force-limited joints, and advanced vision systems, cobots are exceptionally safe. This reduces the risk of injury due to impact, crushing, and pinching. Driverless transport systems are wheeled mobile robots that immediately halt when their lasers detect the presence of a nearby human being.
• Accuracy. Cobots score well on accuracy with 0.1mm precision or well below that. While they do typically sacrifice speed, dual-mode cobots can be converted to fully-fledged tools of mass production that run at full speed in their own safeguarded space.
• Easy to program. Many brands offer user-friendly programming interfaces from beginner to expert level. This reduces the need for continuous availability of expensive and scarce expertise while giving current employees an incentive to upskill. And because they can be deployed within hours, cobots can be leased for temporary projects.
• Research. Small processing plants, agile start-ups, and schools can invest in cobots to experiment with ways to automate processes before committing to full automation.
1.3 Cobot Activity Repertoire
Cobots are perfect candidates for taking over strenuous, dirty, difficult, or dull jobs previously handled by human workers. This relieves their human co-workers from risk of repetitive strain injury, muscle fatigue, and back problems. They can also increase job satisfaction and ultimately a better retirement.
The cobot’s program of responsibilities includes:
• Production tasks such as lathing, wire EDM, and sheet stamping.
• Welding, brazing, and soldering.
• Precision mounting of components and fasteners, and applying adhesive in various stages of general assembly.
• Part post-finishing such as hole drilling, deburring, edge trimming, deflashing, sanding, and polishing.
• Loading and unloading traditional equipment such as CNC and injection molding machines, and operating it using a control panel to drastically reduce cycle times.
• Post-inspection such as damage detection, electronic circuit board testing, and checking for circularity or planarity tolerances.
• Box-packing, wrapping, and palletizing.
• Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) assist with internal transport and inventory management.
1.4 No-Code Programming
While an industrial robot requires the attention of a high-paid robotics engineer, anyone with basic programming savviness can install and maintain a collaborative unit.
Brands are releasing more and more kits for quick installation and specific use cases. Instead of being all numbers and line-coding, current user interaction is exceptionally people-focused.
At the lowest skill level, lead-through programming lets operators physically guide the cobot’s end-of-arm-tool (EOAT) through the desired motion path, after which it will flawlessly replicate the instructed behaviour.
It is also possible to enter desired waypoints as coordinates. At the highest level, it is of course still possible to have full scripting control.
An intermediate step is visual programming interfaces. These let users create blocks of functionality that they can string together into more advanced action sequences, while entering the appropriate parameters for each function such as gripping strength, screwing tightness, or pressing force.
These UIs come in the form of in-browser or mobile apps.
Based on a 3D-CAD model of the machine and its industrial environment, a digital twin of the cobot can simulate and optimize its operations, for example to prevent collisions.
It also lets operators remotely monitor and adjust the machine while it’s running. All the while, back-end artificial intelligence can do its analyses to find further efficiency improvements.
3D models of the to-be-manufactured product can be imported for edge extraction of complex surfaces. These will then be converted into the cobot’s desired movement trajectories instead of tedious manual programming.
This makes them feasible to implement for highly dexterous tasks like welding curved hydroformed metal parts or sanding and polishing the most intricate of 3D printed geometries.
Interfacing directly with the robot is becoming increasingly human-centered as well. Future cobots will respond to voice interaction as well as touch input, eradicating the screens-and-buttons paradigm of current devices.
Some brands are giving the cobot a face with emotional expressions, hoping to lower the barrier to adoption. The upcoming generation of cobots can even respond to body language, as well as show its intentions by projecting light to where they are about to reach or move next.
1.5 A Human World
Ultimately, the objective of any company is to create value for people. It is not an option to completely remove humans from the shop floor in an attempt to stay at the forefront of innovation.
Attempting to leap to full automation and the utopian “lights-out factory” does not work anyway, as automotive giants such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Tesla can testify. A significant portion of human employees will indeed need to give up their roles. On the other hand, improved productivity levels open up space to retain personnel and uplift them to more creative, managerial, analytical, social, or overall more enjoyable jobs.
For certain tasks, humans still need to be kept inside the manufacturing loop. For example:
• Complex assembly routines and handling of flexible components.
• Large vehicle subassemblies contain many variable components and require more hand-eye coordination than one cobot can handle. Humans are needed to make sure everything lands in the right position while the cobot provides assistive muscle power.
• Fashion, footwear, jewellery, art pieces, and other products where creation borders on artistry rather than mechanical assembly require the aesthetic eye of humans. People are also needed to spot aesthetic deficiencies in custom one-offs in order to correspond with customers before finishing the production batch.
• While intelligent automation software can spot bottlenecks in efficiency, humans are required for creative problem solving and context-awareness to make decisions. A spirit of flexibility and innovation is just as important as the accuracy of perfect repetitions.
1.6 Mission: Install a Cobot
Cobots have numerous advantages over industrial solutions or people-only workspaces. They enable faster, more precise, and more sophisticated operations while reducing downtime and maintaining employee satisfaction.
Low-voltage operation and reduced material waste fits with sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility programs.
Many companies are reporting surges in production capacity and staff generally experience the presence of cobots as favorable. For example, industry leviathans like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are reaching the conclusion that in many parts of the production process implementing a cobot has been the right decision.
Connecting all parts of the production line with full automation solutions is a pipedream. It works only when all steps are perfectly attuned, and in reality this never happens and one misstep can be catastrophic.
Whether to hire a human, a robot, or a co-robot is a complex and ever-more pressing decision. Statistical process control is paramount for large organizations to make unbiased data-driven decisions.
Determine the key performance indicators, then find the most critical bottlenecks and major opportunities for leaps in production efficiency, product quality, or staff unburdening.
Talk to employees for their insights and probe their level of skill and enthusiasm needed for working with their new artificial assistants. Digital transformation should be an exciting shift in the organization and its people, so apply new technological advancements only where it makes sense.
Despite common beliefs about robotization, the cobot is an entirely separate product category that can be a surprisingly plug-and-play solution for simple tasks, with programming apps becoming increasingly intuitive.
A cobot’s flexibility makes it perfect to run early experiments to help companies find its best spot on the factory floor. Its unbelievable precision, consistency, and level of control generally can make a strong first impression on customers.
Not only can cobots increase production capacity while reducing idle time and cycle time to accelerate manufacturing across many vertical markets, but they also enrich the work environment resulting in happier and more involved employees.
For many companies, a cobot can be the next logical step in their digital transformation.
Article | December 28, 2021
Successful manufacturing marketing strategies are all you need to grow your business and make it visible in every way to your target customer group. Many manufacturers are now becoming vigilant towards B2B marketing and have started forming an individual marketing budget in their annual budgets.
“We should quantify marketing to inform what we do – not to decide what we do.”
– Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman, Ogily
As per Statista, nearly half of B2B organizations said they’re planning to boost their content budget in the next year.
As a result, B2B marketing for manufacturers must be redesigned and smartly strategized in order to be more effective and fruitful.
This article will focus on the significant challenges manufacturers face in B2B marketing and how manufacturers use the three most sales-driven manufacturing marketing strategies.
4 Biggest Marketing Challenges in B2B & Manufacturing
Develop Tailored Experiences
You have a few seconds to capture the customer's interest. When done correctly, personalization may help. With persistent multi-channel marketing, you may strengthen your brand in target areas. Additionally, an account-based marketing approach enables you to focus on important clients while generating customized content for them. Integrate agile methods to test novel ideas across your business without demanding extensive approval. Further, crowdsourced content, B2B communities, and advocate marketing should be prioritized.
Convert Leads into Sales
With the right strategy, you may generate more high-quality leads. Relate marketing expenditures to sales and demonstrate the impact of marketing on the bottom line. Align marketing and sales by focusing on the customer's purchasing journey. Increase the quality of your leads, transparency, and collaboration with your partners.
Measure Marketing Performance
Marketers will be asked to demonstrate ROI and forecast future actions. Proactively calculate the MROI (Marketing Return on Investment) on marketing and sales investments. Determine how to get the most out of your marketing budget by doing more with less. Focus on making data-driven judgments rather than relying on guesswork.
Maximize the Marketing Tech Investment
As a manufacturer, you have access to a number of tools and resources. You will need to collaborate with your technical team to integrate it. Collaborate with your IT team to effectively adapt, innovate, and apply technology. By integrating current technologies, you can automate and improve marketing campaigns more efficiently.
“Marketing professionals have to act as conveners and connect the dots so that there is alignment between stakeholders like sales and operation teams and executive leadership on what products and services will drive growth in any given quarter."
– Maliha Aqeel, Director of Global Communication, Fix Network World in conversation with Media7
3 Best B2B Marketing Strategies for Manufacturers That Drive Sales
Consider Purchasing an E-commerce Platform
Consumer behavior is driving manufacturing transformation, particularly the shift to digital channels. Manufacturers who still handle consumers solely by phone, fax, or email risk losing their loyalty as their worlds and tastes grow increasingly digital.
Manufacturers have clearly acknowledged the digital transition in 2021. This year's Manufacturing & E-Commerce Benchmark Report says 98% of manufacturers have, or plan to have, an e-commerce strategy. Moreover, 42% of manufacturers who engaged in e-commerce and digital said it strengthened client connections.
How does e-commerce benefit manufacturers?
Distributes a customized catalog to your customers
Ascertains those spare components are visible
It allows customers to customize items online
Sells your whole range online
Increases your consumer base
Focus on the User Experience and Interface (UX/UI)
The term "User Experience" refers to all elements of an end user's engagement with a business, its goods, and services. The purpose of user experience is to establish a connection between company objectives and user demands. An engaging user interface or user experience keeps users engaged and consumers pleased. Additionally, it enhances the rate of return on investment (ROI). That is why it is necessary to maintain great UI/UX quality.
How does UX/UI benefit manufacturers?
Increases the number of conversions
Support is less expensive
It helps with SEO
Brand loyalty is increased
Embrace an Omni-channel Strategy
Millennials represent 73% of those making buying decisions for companies. Part of this means offering a seamless, consistent shopping experience across a variety of channels. With the right CRM solution, you'll eliminate a lot of the legwork associated with targeting specific buyers. Manufacturers can leverage omni-channel to increase availability, promote sales and traffic, and connect digital touchpoints.
How does Omni-channel benefit manufacturers?
Supports marketers in developing trust
Enhances the user experience with the brand
It clarifies a complex subject
Developing a successful manufacturing marketing plan is all that is required to set your organization apart from the competition. Consider thinking outside of the box and developing innovative manufacturing marketing strategies that will surprise your targeted customers and keep you on their minds at all times. B2B marketing for manufacturers has long been a priority, since manufacturers frequently overlook this aspect of their business when they should. Utilize the above-mentioned sales-driven manufacturing marketing methods to assist your organization in growing and reaching the maximum range of target prospects.
What is the goal of business-to-business marketing?
B2B marketing's goal is to familiarize other businesses with your brand name and the value of your product or service in order to convert them into clients.
How can manufacturers energize their market presence?
Manufacturers may boost their market presence by advertising on various social media platforms, opting for native language ads, and partnering with influencers to promote their products or services.
Article | December 21, 2021
When it comes to developing a budget for the following financial year of your manufacturing business, many operations managers start with direct labor and material expenditures. But, what about manufacturing overhead costs?
Manufacturing overhead is any expense not directly tied to a factory's production. Therefore, the indirect costs in manufacturing overhead can also be called factory overhead or production overhead.
Outsourcing and globalization of manufacturing allows companies to reduce costs, benefits consumers with lower-cost goods and services, and causes economic expansion that reduces unemployment and increases productivity and job creation.
– Larry Elder
So, this article focuses on some highly effective overhead cost reduction methods that would help you build a healthy budget for the following year.
Manufacturing Overhead Costs: What Is Included?
Everything or everyone within the factory that isn't actively producing items should be considered overhead.
The following are some of the variables that are considered overhead costs:
Depreciation of equipment and productionfacilities
Taxes, insurance, and utilities
Supervisors, maintenance, quality control, and other on-site personnel who aren't producing signs
Indirect supply from light bulbs to toilet paper is also included in the overhead cost.
Manufacturing Overhead Costs: What Is Excluded?
Everything or everyone within or outside the factory that is actively producing items should be excluded from the overhead costs.
Factory overhead does not include the following:
Employee costs for those making the goods daily
External administrative overhead, such as a satellite office or human resources
Costs associated with C-suite employees
Expenses associated with sales and marketing - include pay, travel, and advertising
How to Calculate Overhead Costs in Manufacturing
To know the manufacturing overhead requires calculating the manufacturing overhead rate. The formula to calculate the manufacturing overhead rate i.e. MOR is basic yet vital.
To begin, determine your overall manufacturing overhead expenses. Then, add up all the monthly indirect expenditures that keep manufacturing running smoothly.
Then you can calculate the Manufacturing Overhead Rate (MOR). This statistic shows you your monthly overhead costs as a percentage.
To find this value, divide Total Manufacturing Overhead Cost (TMOC) by Total Monthly Sales (TMS) and multiply it by 100. The final formula will be:
Assume your manufacturing overhead expensesare $50,000 and your monthly sales are $300,000. You get.167 when you divide $50,000 by $300,000. Then increase that by 100 to get your monthly overhead rate of 16.7%.
This means your monthly overhead expenditures will be 16.7% of your monthly income. Being able to forecast and develop better solutions to decrease production overhead.
Five Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Overhead Costs
A variety of strategies may be used by manufacturing organizations to reduce their overhead costs. Here is a summary of some of the most important methods for reducing your manufacturing overhead costs.
Value Stream Mapping – A Production Plant Process Layout
A value stream map depicts the entire manufacturing process of your plant. Everything from raw material purchase through client delivery is detailed here. The value stream map provides you with a complete picture of the profit-making process. This overhead cost-cuttingmethod is listed first for a reason because every effort to reduce manufacturing overhead costsstarts with a value stream map.
Lean manufacturingis also one of the techniques of eliminating unnecessary time, staff, and work that is not necessary for profit and has gained undue favor in the manufacturing process. You must first create a value stream map of the whole manufacturing process for this technique to work. Once the lean manufacturing precept is established, the following strategies for decreasingmanufacturing overhead expenses can be examined.
Do Not Forget Your Back Office Management
Before focusing on factory floor cost reduction techniques, remember that your back offices, where payment processing and customer contacts occur, may also be simplified and increase profitability. Fortunately, automation can achieve this profitability at a cheap cost.
Manufacturers increasingly use robotic process automation (RPA) to sell directly to customers rather than rely on complex supply networks. This automation eliminates costly human mistakes in data input and payment processing by automatically filling forms with consumer data. Moreover, the time saved from manual data input (and rectifying inevitable human errors) equates to decreased labor expenses and downtime.
Automating Your Manufacturing Plant
For a long time, manufacturers saw factory automation as a game-changer. As a result, several plant owners make radical changes in their operations using cutting-edge technologydespite knowing it realistically. Over-investing in technologies unfamiliar to present industrial personnel might be deemed a technology blunder. Investing in new technology that doesn't generate value or is too hard for current staff to use might be a mistake.
It's usually best to start small when implementing newtechnology in manufacturing. Using collaborative robots in production is one way to get started with automation. They are inexpensive, need little software and hardware, and may help employees with mundane, repeated chores that gobble up bandwidth. It is a low-cost entry point into automation that saves labor expenses and opens the door for further automation investments when opportunities are available.
Reuse Other Factory Equipment and Supplies
Check with other factories to see if they have any unused equipment or supplies that may be "redeployed" to your manufacturing plant. Redeployment would save you time and money by eliminating the need to look for and install new equipment while lowering your overhead costs.
Outsourcing a fully equipped factory, equipment, or even staff can also assist in lowering overhead costssince you will only pay for what you utilize. As such, it is a viable method to incorporate into your production process.
Employ an In-house Maintenance Expert
An in-house repair technician can service your equipment for routine inspections, preventive maintenance, and minor repairs. This hiring decision might save money on unforeseen repair expenses or work fees for an outside repair provider. Having someone on-site who can do emergency repairs may save you money if your equipment breaks after business hours.
Manufacturing overhead costis an essential aspect of every manufacturing company's budget to consider. Smart manufacturingis intended to be productive, efficient, and cost-effective while effectively managing production expenditures. Calculating the manufacturing overheadcan provide you with a better understanding of your company's costs and how to minimize them. Depending on the conditions or geographical needs, each manufacturing plant's overhead expensesmay vary. As a result, identify your production overhead costsand concentrate on reducing and improving them.
What are manufacturing overheads?
Manufacturing overhead cost is a sum of all indirect expenses incurred during production. Manufacturing overhead expenses usually include depreciation of equipment, employee salaries, and power utilized to run the equipment.
What is a decent overhead percentage?
When a business is functioning successfully, an overhead ratio of less than 35 % is considered favorable.
How can I calculate the cost of manufacturing per unit?
The overall manufacturing cost per unit is determined by dividing the total production expenses by the total number of units produced for a particular time.