Article | January 20, 2022
A smart factory that leverages Industry 4.0 concepts to elevate its operations has long been a model for other industries that are still figuring out how to travel the digital manufacturing route. Smart manufacturing technology is all you need to know if you're looking to cash in on this trend.
“Industry 4.0 is not really a revolution. It’s more of an evolution.”
– Christian Kubis
In this article, we'll look at the advantages that many smart factory pioneers are getting from their smart factories. In addition, we will look at the top smart factory examples and understand how they applied the Industry 4.0 idea and excelled in their smart manufacturing adoption.
Industry 4.0 Technology Benefits
Manufacturing Industry 4.0 has several benefits that can alter the operations of manufacturers. Beyond optimization and automation, smart manufacturing Industry 4.0 aims to uncover new business prospects and models by increasing the efficiency, speed, and customer focus of manufacturing and associated industries.
Key benefits of Manufacturing Industry 4.0 in production include:
Improved productivity and efficiency
Increased collaboration and knowledge sharing
Better agility and adaptability
Improved customer experience
Reduced costs and increased profitability
Creates opportunities for innovation
World Smart Factory Case Studies and Lessons to Be Learned
Schneider Electric, France SAS
Schneider Electric's le Vaudreuil plant is a prime example of a smart factory Industry 4.0, having been regarded as one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the world, utilizing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies on a large scale. The factory has included cutting-edge digital technology, such as the EcoStruxureTM Augmented Operator Advisor, which enables operators to use augmented reality to accelerate operation and maintenance, resulting in a 2–7% increase in productivity. EcoStruxureTM Resource Advisor's initial deployment saves up to 30% on energy and contributes to long-term improvement.
Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes, Ireland
DePuy Synthes' medical device manufacturing plant, which started in 1997, just underwent a multimillion-dollar makeover to better integrate digitalization and Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing. Johnson & Johnson made a big investment in the Internet of Things. By linking equipment, the factory used IoT technology to create digital representations of physical assets (referred to as “digital twins”). These digital twins resulted in sophisticated machine insights. As a result of these insights, the company was able to reduce operating expenditures while simultaneously reducing machine downtime.
Bosch's Wuxi factory's digital transformation uses IIoT and big data. The company integrates its systems to keep track of the whole production process at its facilities. Embedding sensors in production machinery collects data on machine status and cycle time. When data is collected, complicated data analytics tools analyze it in real-time and alert workers to production bottlenecks. This strategy helps forecast equipment failures and allows the organization to arrange maintenance ahead of time. As a consequence, the manufacturer's equipment may run for longer.
The Tesla Gigafactory, Germany
According to Tesla, the Berlin Gigafactory is the world's most advanced high-volume electric vehicle production plant. On a 300-hectare facility in Grünheide, it produces batteries, powertrains, and cars, starting with the Model Y and Model 3. For Tesla, the goal is not merely to make a smart car, but also to construct a smart factory. The plant's photographs reveal an Industry 4.0 smart factory with solar panels on the roof, resulting in a more sustainable production method. On its official website, Tesla claimed to use cutting-edge casting methods and a highly efficient body shop to improve car safety. Tesla's relentless pursuit of manufacturing efficiency has allowed them to revolutionize the car industry.
The SmartFactoryKL was established to pave the way for the future's "intelligent factory." It is the world's first manufacturer-independent Industry 4.0 production facility, demonstrating the value of high-quality, flexible manufacturing and the effectiveness with which it can be deployed. The last four years, SmartFactoryKL has been guided by particular strategic objectives that drive innovation; the aim is to see artificial intelligence integrated into production. Two instances of AI-driven transformations include an "order-to-make' mass customization platform and a remote AI-enabled, intelligent service cloud platform that anticipates maintenance needs before they occur.
Enabling smart manufacturing means using the latest technology to improve processes and products. The aforementioned smart factory examples are industry leaders and are thriving by implementing Industry 4.0 technology. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may use these smart factory examples to learn about the adoption process, challenges, and solutions. Industry 4.0 is aimed at improving enterprises and minimizing human effort in general. So adopt the smart factory concept and be productive.
What is the difference between a smart factory and a digital factory?
The digital factory enables the planning of factories using virtual reality and models, whereas the smart factory enables the operation and optimization of factories in real time.
Where does Industry 4.0 come from?
The term "Industry 4.0" was coined in Germany to represent data-driven, AI-powered, networked "smart factories" as the fourth industrial revolution's forerunner.
Article | January 4, 2022
Content marketing for manufacturers has become an essential component of every organization, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. Manufacturers are concentrating more on increasing their presence in both the digital and physical markets. As a result, the content market is seeing a boom as novel techniques are aimed at reaching the end objective of the manufacturing company.
According to PRNewswire, the worldwide content marketing industry is expected to increase by USD 417.85 billion between 2021 and 2025, at a CAGR of over 16%.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
– Seth Godin
Why Is Content Marketing Critical to Your Business's Success?
Helps in the formation of your brand's identity
Enables you to take advantage of organic search results
Performance is easy to assess
Produces leads and attracts ideal buyers
It balances the playing field, resulting in a higher ROI
It enables you to benefit from social shares
It entices visitors to return to your website on a regular basis
Manufacturing Content Marketing Strategies That Work
Recognize the Buyer's Pain Points
Writing amazing content requires knowing your target audience. Knowing your ideal customers helps you generate content that is relevant to them. When your potential buyer visits your website and finds content that answers his or her inquiries, you've already removed one hurdle for your sales staff.
How does your sales team define a good prospect?
Who are they?
What do they do?
Why are they visiting your business?
What is their industry knowledge?
The answers to all such questions influence what and how you write. Once you start recognizing your buyers, you can get the prospect and confidence in your organization to address your buyer’s difficulties.
Do Research on Keywords
Everyone appears to believe that skipping keyword research is acceptable. However, this is not the case. If you want to focus on marketing activities that yield big returns, you need a best manufacturer content marketing strategy backed by solid SEO.
Keyword research is the first step. Use one of the numerous internet keyword research tools to find terms with high search traffic, low competition, and relevance to your manufacturing company's activity. The better your keyword research, the better your content approach.
Create and Schedule Consistently Excellent Content
Writing outstanding content is by far the greatest strategy to increase your manufacturing company's SERP rank.
Hire a good content writer or content strategist who can combine your technical expertise, keywords, and purpose into a meaningful blog, case study, or content offer that gets results. Your material must be good to rank well.
Irregular content, like scattered production, always spells disaster. Having a defined timetable that your audience understands is essential to successful content marketing. Whether you produce material weekly, monthly, or quarterly, a timetable ensures that content is consistently released and updated.
Make Your Content More Visible
Once your content is ready, make your content visible to your target audience. Get your content marketing for manufacturing plan going to promote it in every way.
You're in a tough spot when it comes to content marketing for manufacturers. To stay ahead of the competition, you must constantly monitor the performance of your materials.
Keep an eye on everything you create and promote. Analyze which content form is performing well. Is it a blog? A time-lapse video? Or infographics? Identify your best-performing content so you can develop more of it.
Also focus on the content that doesn't perform well. Consider why that content didn't work for your audience. Is it too hard to rank that post? Is there a better platform or medium for the content? All of these queries must be answered to establish a strong content strategy for your company.
Optimize Your Content Marketing
The lack of industry-specific content marketing tactics is a major challenge for manufacturers. Many businesses use a generic strategy that ignores their particular customer connections, making different types of content marketing for manufacturers ineffective.
As the manufacturing business is a specialized business in any particular area, they also need specific content marketing strategies. Hence, focus on building a unique content marketing strategy that would help you optimize your business reach to your target audience.
General Electric Is Taking the Lead on Social Media
GE has come a long way from its 1892 beginnings. While it has retained basic product streams such as lighting, transportation, and power transmission, the goods themselves have developed dramatically. Social media marketing has become increasingly important as new technology transforms the corporate scene.
GE's Instagram Presence
GE's Instagram feed is an excellent illustration of widespread appeal. GE always shares attractive photographs with full explanations. It recognizes the power of pictures and captures common scenes in fascinating ways.
Utilizing cutting-edge content marketing methods for manufacturing businesses is critical for increasing your business's visibility and reach with your target audience. Ascertain that you select the appropriate techniques to advance your digital and physical presence in the industry. Discover the most effective plan for manufacturing content marketing and change your present marketing methods into more refined and up-to-date ones.
What are the best ways to market a manufacturing company?
The best approaches to advertising any manufacturing business are to concentrate on improving content, email marketing, SEO, press releases, and event sponsorship.
Is marketing vital for manufacturers?
Yes, since marketing opens up a whole new world for manufacturers, and a strong brand helps any business stand out from the competition.
Article | January 12, 2022
Real-time manufacturing analytics enables the manufacturing base to increase its efficiency and overall productivity in a variety of ways. Production data is an effective means of determining the factory's efficiency and identifying areas where it might be more productive.
“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.”
– Geoffrey Moore, an American Management Consultant and Author
Creating a product-specific data collection may assist you in determining and visualizing what needs to be improved and what is doing well. In this article, we'll look at why manufacturing data collection is vital for your organization and how it may help you improve your operations.
Why is Manufacturing Data Collection so Critical?
Visibility is the key benefit that every manufacturer gets from manufacturing data collection. By collecting real-time data, or what we refer to as "shop floor data," manufacturers better understand how to assess, comprehend, and improve their plant operations. Manufacturers can make informed decisions based on detailed shop floor data. This is why having precise, real-time production data is critical.
“According to Allied Market Research, the worldwide manufacturing analytics market was worth $5,950 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $28,443.7 million by 2026, rising at a 16.5% compound annual growth rate between 2019 and 2026.”
For modern manufacturers, the advantages of data collection in manufacturing are numerous. The manufacturing industry benefits from production data and data-driven strategy in the following ways.
Substantial reduction in downtime by identifying and addressing the root causes of downtime.
It increases manufacturing efficiency and productivity by minimizing production bottlenecks.
A more robust maintenance routine that is based on real-time alerts and machine circumstances.
Improvements in demand forecasting, supplier scoring, waste reduction, and warehouse optimization reduce supply chain costs.
Higher-quality goods that are more in line with customers' wishes and demands depending on how they are utilized in the current world.
So, after looking at some of the significant benefits of real-time manufacturing analytics, let’s see what type of data is collected from production data tracking.
What Sorts of Data May Be Collected for Production Tracking?
Downtime: Operators can record or track downtime for jams, cleaning, minor slowdowns, and stoppages, among other causes, with production tracking software. In the latter scenario, downtime accuracy is optimized by removing rounding, human error, and forgotten downtime occurrences. The software also lets you categorize different types of stops.
Changeovers: Changeovers can also be manually recorded. However, changeovers tracked by monitoring software provide valuable data points for analysis, considerably reducing the time required for new configurations.
Maintenance Failures: Similar to downtime classification, the program assists in tracking the types of maintenance breakdowns and service orders and their possible causes. This may result in cost savings and enable businesses to implement predictive or prescriptive maintenance strategies based on reliable real-time data.
Items of Good Quality: This is a fundamental component of production management. Companies can't fulfill requests for delivery on schedule unless they know what's created first quality. Real-time data collection guarantees that these numbers are accurate and orders are filled efficiently.
Scrap: For manufacturers, waste is a significant challenge. However, conventional techniques are prone to overlooking scrap parts or documenting them wrong. The production tracking system can record the number and type of errors, allowing for analysis and improvement. Additionally, it can capture rework, rework time, and associated activities.
WIP Inventory: Accurate inventory management is critical in production, yet a significant quantity of material may become "invisible" once it is distributed to the floor. Collecting data on the movement and state of work in progress is critical for determining overall efficiency.
Production Schedule: Accurate data collection is essential to managing manufacturing orders and assessing operational progress. Customers' requests may not be fulfilled within the specified lead time if out of stock. Shop floor data gathering provides accurate production histories and helps managers fulfill delivery deadlines.
Which Real-time Data Collection Techniques Do Manufacturers Employ?
Manufacturers frequently employ a wide range of data collection techniques due to the abundance of data sources. Manual data collection and automated data collection are two of the most common data collection methods. Here are a few examples from both methods:
IoT: To provide the appropriate information to the right people at the right time with the correct shop floor insight, IoT (Internet of Things) sensor integration is employed.
PLC: The integration of PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) is used to measure and regulate manufacturing operations.
HMI: It can provide human context to data by integrating line HMI (Human Machine Interface) systems (such as individual shop terminals like touch screens located on factory floor equipment).
SCADA: Overarching management of activities with SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems.
CNC and Other Machines: Integrating CNC and other machines (both new and older types) to keep tabs on production efficiency and machine well-being is a must these days.
One of the most challenging aspects of shop floor management is determining what to measure and what to overlook. The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently conducted a study on assisting manufacturing operations in determining which data to collect from the shop floor.Additionally, you may utilize the manufacturing data set described above to obtain information from your manufacturing facility and use it strategically to improve operations, productivity, efficiency, and total business revenue in the long term.
What is manufacturing analytics?
Manufacturing analytics uses operations and event data and technology in the manufacturing business to assure quality, improve performance and yield, lower costs, and optimize supply chains.
How is data collected in manufacturing?
Data collection from a manufacturing process can be done through manual methods, paperwork, or a production/process management software system.
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.