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 10, 2021
IoT in the manufacturing industry introduces a superior technology that is coming up as a blessing for the industry. Manufacturers are enjoying one-of-a-kind benefits and returns on their reinvestments in IoT. Benefits such as enhanced productivity, work safety, reduced downtime, cost-effective operations, and more such benefits of IoT in manufacturing make it more and more popular with each passing day.
The global IoT market is estimated to reach a value of USD 1,386.06 billion by 2026 from USD 761.4 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 10.53 percent over the forecast period of 2021-2026. So the whole worldwide market of IoT has a bright future in the following years.
“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, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca
Let’s check out below some exciting facts about IoT in manufacturing and see how IoT makes a difference in the manufacturing industry.
IoT in Manufacturing: Some Interesting Facts
According to PwC, 91% of industrial/manufacturing enterprises in Germany invest in "digital factories" that use IoT solutions.
According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China employs more industrial robots than any other country (many of which are connected to the internet in some way).
According to IoT Analytics, the industrial sector spent more than $64 billion on IoT in 2018 and expects investment in Industry 4.0 to reach $310 billion by 2023.
According to the Eclipse Foundation, most IoT developers are focused on developing smart agriculture systems (26%), while industrial automation is another big focus area (26%). However, home automation is dwindling in popularity, accounting for just 19% of projects.
How Does IoT Work for the Manufacturing Industry?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interconnected devices that communicate with one another and with other networks. While IoT-enabled devices are capable of various tasks, they are primarily employed to collect data and carry out specific tasks. The implementation of the Internet of Things in manufacturing is often referred to as the IIoT, or Industrial Internet of Things.
IoT makes use of 'smart' devices to collect, process, and act on data. These intelligent devices are equipped with sensors and other software that enable them to communicate and exchange data inside the network.
IoT-enabled equipment gives crucial real-time data that enables manufacturers or machine operators to make informed decisions. So, how does it function in practice?
Sensors capture data from the system and transfer it to the cloud, where it can be analyzed.
The data is transferred to the quality assurance system.
The data that has been analyzed is forwarded to the end-user.
How the IoT is Improving Manufacturing Business Operations
The Internet of Things (IoT) has numerous benefits for the manufacturing industry. We'll go over some of the significant benefits that the Internet of Things brings to the manufacturing business.
Energy Efficiency Solutions
Energy is a high cost in manufacturing. Unfortunately, the current industrial energy infrastructure can only track excessive energy consumption.
The utility bills include the factory's energy consumption records. But, unfortunately, nobody can break down energy consumption to the device level and find out the underperforming pieces. Some energy usage monitoring tools exist, but they only provide partial data, making system analysis difficult.
IoT can help by giving device-level energy data. The sensors will detect any underperforming devices in the network and alert you so you can take action. As a result, the technology can help you reduce energy waste and find other ways to save it.
Data is required to determine trends and quality of production at a manufacturing facility. It also helps manufacturers plan and anticipates changes. These forecasts can help with inventory management, employment, cost control, and other operational procedures. Thus, IoT technology makes it easier to foresee and optimize customer requirements.
The Internet of Things (IoT) uses sensors to gather data about assets' health and productivity. In addition, it uses advanced analytics to give actionable information. These are presented on an appealing dashboard connected to your smart device. This allows for predictive maintenance to be used in the manufacturing industry.
Superior Product Quality
Every manufacturer is determined to produce a high-quality product at a low cost. Therefore, a minor quality modification can have a significant influence on the manufacturing firm.
Customer happiness, waste reduction, sales, and profit can all benefit from high-quality products. But making high-quality products isn't easy.
The Internet of Things (IoT) can assist you in this endeavor. Poorly set, calibrated, and maintained equipment are some of the main reasons for low-quality products. Worst of all, many small things sometimes go ignored as the final product seems perfect. Quality tests show the product is fine, but your consumers start having problems after a couple of months.
Imagine the resources needed to identify and correct the problem. Sensors in an IoT network detect even minimal tweaks in setup and alert operators. The team might momentarily stop production to address the issue before the production cycle gets complete.
Rapid and Informed Decision-Making
The IoT can dramatically improve organizational decision-making. It unlocks vital data about network equipment performance and delivers it to the right person.
Managers and field operators can use this data to improve plant processes and overall production.
In addition to these significant benefits, IoT in manufacturing can help manufacturers improve their manufacturing operations and construct a unit that meets the vision of the smart factory of 2040. The future beyond IoT would be the icing on the cake for all of us, as technology has always amazed us.
Imagine the day when IoT and AI merge, and the virtual gadgets controlled by IoT are the next major milestone. Then, the ideal combination of robotics, AI, and VR may reduce the manufacturing plant size and cost while increasing the output to a level that is unimaginable and unattainable as of now.
Airbus Improved Production Efficiency with Its Factory of the Future Concept
It's a massive task for a commercial airliner to be assembled. The expense of making a mistake throughout making such a craft can be significant, as there are millions of parts and thousands of assembly phases. Airbus has established a digital manufacturing effort called Factory of the Future to optimize operations and increase production capacity. The company has installed sensors on factory floor tools and machinery and supplied workers with wearable technologies, such as industrial smart glasses, to reduce errors and improve workplace safety. The wearable allowed for a 500% increase in efficiency while eliminating nearly all mistakes in one process named cabin seat marking.
While the benefits of IoT devices have long been a topic of discussion among technology enthusiasts, the incorporation of IoT in manufacturing is creating a new buzz in the industry. The benefits of IoT in manufacturing, such as remote analysis of operations, processes, and products, are assisting manufacturers in establishing a more productive manufacturing unit. As a result of these benefits, IoT use in manufacturing is accelerating. Recognize the IoT's potential and take a step toward incorporating it into your manufacturing operation in 2022.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
IIoT stands for Industrial Internet of Things. It uses data to improve industrial efficiency. To enhance industrial performance, it uses embedded sensors, cloud data, and connected devices.
Why is the IoT changing manufacturing?
Real-time monitoring of machines and accurate reporting for better decisions are possible through IoT. This improves business strategies and project control. Thus, the Internet of Things has a significant impact on the profitability of any manufacturing company.
How does the IoT transform the way we do business?
We can use data collected by IoT devices to improve efficiency and help organizations make better decisions. They tell organizations the truth, not what they hope or believe.
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"text": "We can use data collected by IoT devices to improve efficiency and help organizations make better decisions. They tell organizations the truth, not what they hope or believe."
Article | January 3, 2022
Production planning and control are critical components of any manufacturing organization. It helps organizations with the regular and timely delivery of their goods. Furthermore, it allows manufacturing businesses to increase their plant’s efficiency and reduce production costs.
Numerous software and tools for production scheduling and planning are available on the market, including Visual Planning, MaxScheduler, and MRPeasy, which assist manufacturing organizations in planning, scheduling, and controlling their production.
According to KBV Research, the manufacturing operations management software market is anticipated to reach $14.6 billion by 2025 globally, expanding at a market growth of 10.2 percent CAGR during the forecast period.
So, what exactly is production planning and control?
Production planning is an administrative process within a manufacturing business. It ensures that sufficient raw materials, personnel, and other necessary items are procured and prepared to produce finished products according to the specified schedule.
Scheduling, dispatch, inspection, quality control, inventory management, supply chain management, and equipment management require production planning. Production control makes sure that the production team meets the required production targets, maximizes resource utilization, manages quality, and saves money.
“Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.”
– James Dyson
In oversize factories, production planning and control are frequently managed by a production planning department, which comprises production controllers and a production control manager. More significant operations are commonly monitored and controlled from a central location, such as a control room, operations room, or operations control center.
Why Should You Consider Production Planning?
An efficient production process that meets the needs of both customers and the organization can only be achieved through careful planning in the early stages of production. In addition, it streamlines both customer-dependent and customer-independent processes, such as on-time delivery and production cycle time.
A well-designed production plan minimizes lead time, the period between placing an order and its completion and delivery. The definition of lead time varies slightly according to the company and the type of production planning required. For example, in supply chain management, lead time refers to the time required for parts to be shipped from a supplier.
Steps in Production Planning and Control
The first stage of production planning determines the path that raw materials will take from their source to the finished product. You will use this section to determine the equipment, resources, materials, and sequencing used.
It is necessary to determine when operations will occur during the second stage of production planning. In this case, the objectives may be to increase throughput, reduce lead time, or increase profits, among other things. Numerous strategies can be employed to create the most efficient schedule.
The third and final production control stage begins when the manufacturing process is initiated. When the scheduling plan is implemented, materials and work orders are released, and work is flowing down the production line, the production line is considered to be running smoothly.
The fourth stage of manufacturing control ascertains whether the process has any bottlenecks or inefficiencies. You can use this stage to compare the predicted run hours and quantities with the actual values reported to see if any improvements can be made to the processes.
Production Planning Example
Though production planning is classified into several categories, including flow, mass production, process, job, and batch, we will look at a batch production planning example here.
Manufacturing products in batches is known as "batch production planning." This method allows for close monitoring at each stage of the process, and quick correction since an error discovered in one batch can be corrected in the next batch. However, batch manufacturing can lead to bottlenecks or delays if some equipment can handle more than others, so it's critical to consider capacity at every stage.
Consider the following example of batch production planning:
Jackson's Baked Goods is in the process of developing a production plan for their new cinnamon bread. To begin with, the head baker determines the batch production time required by the recipe.
He then adjusts the bakery's weekly ingredient orders to include the necessary supplies and schedules the weekly cinnamon bread bake during staff downtime.
Finally, he creates a list of standards for the bakery staff to check at each production stage, allowing them to quickly identify any substandard materials or other batch errors without wasting processing time on subpar cinnamon bread.
Running a smooth and problem-free manufacturing operation relies heavily on a precise production planner. Many large manufacturing companies already have a strong focus on streamlining their processes and making the most of every manufacturing operation, but small manufacturing companies still have work to do in this area. As a result, plan, schedule, and control a production that will enable you to run your business in order to meet its objectives.
What is the difference between planning and scheduling in production?
Production planning and scheduling are remarkably similar. But, it is critical to note that planning determines what operations need to be done and scheduling determines when and who will do the operations.
What is a production plan?
A product or service's production planning is the process of creating a guide for the design and manufacture of a given product or service. Production planning aims to help organizations make their manufacturing processes as productive as possible.
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.