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 | April 6, 2021
Inbound marketing has become a vital part of the manufacturing industry, especially after the pandemic. Marketers want to get more business, more high-quality leads, increase revenue, and expand it into new markets. A lot of opportunities are arising for manufacturers to embrace its effectiveness—especially online.
Unlike other industries, the manufacturing industry is not safe from the continual pendulum swing of updates, new platform creation, and changing buyer preferences. Manufacturing marketing has its own blend of deliverables and initiatives that can spell the success of your business.
Until now, you must have realized that your traditional marketing tactics are obsolete and would have planned to get the inbound marketing program off the ground.
Here comes the critical part—understanding how to implement inbound marketing for your business to generate high revenue. With the help of these five steps, you can stay ahead of your competition.
Before you approach the steps, first you need to:
Identify your Customers’ Pain Points
Understanding what frustrates your buyers gives an insight into how to answer the queries they look for. To determine what queries your buyers may have, you can:
Interview your customers: Your customers are your leading source of information. Ask them what solutions they are searching for. What content did they read to solve their solutions? What information, insights, FAQs, or product details can help them? This way, create content that answers all of these questions.
Talk to your sales representative: Your sales team is on the front line with your buyers/customers. They very well know what content gaps can be filled. Identify the gaps and work accordingly.
These considerations will help you to stay updated in the competitive landscape of manufacturing marketing.
Now, start your inbound marketing program by following these steps.
When planning inbound marketing, your website becomes the center of the universe. It’s where all your marketing efforts, like great content for your prospective buyers come in. After all, this is how you’re going to start ranking on search engines and driving in leads.
Before you get to this part, you’ll need to do a basic audit to ensure your website is in tandem with your targeted audiences’ expectations.
The website interface is the focal point that helps buyers to interact. This will help them to interact with your business. And if their experience is negative, they’ll probably never bother to read further. To avoid such circumstances, here are a few critical web design tips you should know and implement:
A Clean Look
Keep your website simple and embrace spaces to make it more appealing to the eyes. Too many visuals and color combinations will make it hard to find the information they’re searching for. Creating a simple yet appealing website neither costs your pockets nor makes it hard for your audiences to contact you.
Tablets and smartphones have overtaken desktop computers. So, creating a mobile-friendly design will ensure your website looks impressive on any screen size. Your audience does not feel lost, and it helps to scroll information from your website.
Move from HTTP to HTTPS
With massive data breaches becoming common in the internet world, your audience will be more concerned with security and privacy than ever. Converting your website from HTTP to HTTPS will protect their information. Also, it will help you get ranked on the Google search engine.
Create Informative Content
Content is the backbone of inbound marketing efforts. It’s how you can build a strong audience base for your business and convert them into leads.
To market your business effectively, you need to provide informative yet relevant content at every stage. Think of creating a blog to inform rather than a sales tool. With this notion, your content will rank and stay on top of the mind throughout your customers’ buyer journey. This means your industry-related content has to be interesting and attract visitors to become your leads.
To understand how your content needs to work, list these funnels of content ideas and try implementing them.
Content Ideas: Top Funnel
Include content in these ways:
Social media posts
Videos on factory products tour
Content Ideas: Middle Funnel
While the top of the content funnel is the widest, the middle of the funnel is often the deepest. It includes content type such as:
‘How to’ guides
Content Ideas: Bottom Funnel
The bottom funnel creates chances to close the deal and convert visitors/buyers into leads. This includes content ideas such as:
Call to action
So, in the marketing competition landscape, many manufacturers are busy updating their inbound marketing strategies like you. Many others have overhauled their business. While you have a lot on your end, inspire yourself to create that excellent piece of content now!
Invest in Marketing Technologies and Automation
One way to grow your business through inbound marketing is automating your marketing efforts. This way, you can devote more time focusing on the bigger picture. There are tons of tools online to help organize strategies, create content, schedule emails, campaigns and publish to your website. Use them!
Marketing technology usage can help your business to operate faster and more accurately. Here are some automation tools to use:
G Suite: Google’s products are becoming just ubiquitous with a bonus—everything is in the cloud today. You can find your work easily and access it from any device. Also, manage all marketing efforts from one place and collaborate globally in no time with clients.
Sales and Marketing CRM: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, like HubSpot CRM, gives you a quick view of your marketing funnel and sales channel. Not only does it enable transparency all across, but it gives you hours back in the day by starting different events and marketing flows automatically.
Email Marketing: Emails are the most effective marketing channels in terms of ROI. Email usage endures growing around 4% year-over-year. And has no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In this case, many emailing tools are available. Like HubSpot is well known for its CRM and inbound marketing software. It boasts exceptional deliverability for emails. With about 2,000 email sends/month, contact lists, a drag-and-drop email builder, and ready-made templates, you can start right away.
These are some examples to decide what's best for your industrial inbound marketing efforts. Get started today!
Keep Tracking your Marketing Efforts
You’re spending your time, energy, efforts, and resources on marketing to grow your business. So, it’s essential to track your marketing initiatives and see if it’s functioning as expected or not.
Here are some crucial aspects with which you can keep track of your marketing program:
Get an ROI measuring tool:For measurable goals, you’ll want to select KPIs to measure ROI. Some common ones include the cost per sale, per lead, overall marketing program, and overall customer relationship length. You can also set points for channel performance with campaign-specific KPIs, including email open rate or social media impressions.
Google Analytics:This is a free tool. It will help monitor your website's health by tracking site metrics such as page views, visits, and clicks. With this, you can easily set up customized reports to monitor specific metrics of interest for your campaigns.
Lastly, get a lead generation tool that tracks who is in-market for your services. How they’re interacting with your online presence and where they are in their solution journey.
Inbound Marketing Case Study: Get Inspired!
If you ask your competitors what their main goals are for their company, the answer would most likely be related to increasing sales and leads. Even if they mentioned other purposes, such as improving website performance and SEO or redesigning a website, the main objective would be to get more traffic. And it will lead to more sales.
For Corrugated Metals, Inc., these were the goals. This manufacturing company deals in roll formation. It manufactures products for the equipment, construction, transportation, and defense industries.
The company used inbound marketing strategies during the pandemic and found success with it, resulting in:
Increased quality leads
Increased sales revenue
More opportunities from the manufacturing industry for long term sales potential
Redesigned their website to bring design and UX (user experience) up to date and increase engagement
Maintained and increased SEO
Through the implementation of inbound marketing, the company saw a 198% hike in website traffic and an implausible 285% increase in leads. But that wasn’t all. The quality of leads radically improved by 321%.
Since they were able to identify and target long-term sales prospects through persona-based targeting and lead nurturing, they lined up a potential million dollar per year customer. This created a possibility of 20 years of recurring sales.
In a nutshell, using these inbound marketing tactics can bring high revenues to your business.
1) PLAN! Do as much research as you can. Know your industrial customers. Find what’s trending. Analyze what worked, what didn't work, and why. And start with these ways to boost marketing for your business.
2) CREATE! Use the information as the backbone to create a stellar inbound marketing plan. Be patient, and do one project at a time.
3) OPTIMIZE! There are ways to improve. And if you’re testing correctly — no industrial marketing strategy will ever fail.
In a recent 2020 Thomas Industrial Survey, there has been a 12% surge in website usage by manufacturers using inbound marketing campaigns to connect with more buyers and customers since the outbreak of COVID-19. Therefore, adjusting your manufacturing inbound marketing strategies today will perhaps help you win more business down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
What manufacturers should follow to do inbound marketing?
Manufacturers implementing inbound marketing should follow some crucial aspects before they start. These attract customers—don’t interrupt them, measure all activities, nurture leads, do SEO and social media activities precisely.
What are the four stages manufacturing marketers should know about inbound marketing?
There are a lot of relatable things to do inbound marketing. But along the top four things, manufacturers must know to drive business growth are attract, convert, sell and create leads.
Does inbound marketing for manufacturing works?
Absolutely. Inbound marketing for manufacturers has been fruitful. If you are willing to include it in your business, you will reap its benefits and see your business growing with time. Creating a proper strategy is foremost.
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"text": "Manufacturers implementing inbound marketing should follow some crucial aspects before they start. These attract customers—don’t interrupt them, measure all activities, nurture leads, do SEO and social media activities precisely."
"name": "WHAT ARE THE FOUR STAGES MANUFACTURING MARKETERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INBOUND MARKETING?",
"text": "There are a lot of relatable things to do inbound marketing. But along the top four things, manufacturers must know to drive business growth are attract, convert, sell and create leads."
"name": "DOES INBOUND MARKETING FOR MANUFACTURING WORKS?",
"text": "Absolutely. Inbound marketing for manufacturers has been fruitful. If you are willing to include it in your business, you will reap its benefits and see your business growing with time. Creating a proper strategy is foremost."
Article | April 6, 2021
As the pandemic upended plans for marketing and sales in 2020, it forced marketers in the manufacturing industry to adopt the tactics of the remote world. Many of them are still wondering how they can focus on driving business growth in 2021. Intent data has undoubtedly added some spice to the season of online marketing.
Research conducted by B2BecNews on 110 businesses found that 59.5% of business buyers research two to three websites before buying while 29.7% research up to seven websites.
The “How” of Intent Data
Intent data allows businesses to channel their expenditure to the leads that matter the most. It boosts sales and encourages marketers to be smarter by doing more in less time.
Moreover, b2b buyers now tend to look for an immersive digital experience and are likely to conduct more and more searches before engaging with a brand. Such digital activity will tell you what a visitor’s intentions are called the intent data.
To drive your business, here are some tried-and-true and unexpectedly productive ways to scale up your marketing and sales game using intent data.
Improve your Sales Pitches/Pipelines
When you are expanding or redefining your business because you want to target a new market or audience, third-party intent data is a decent place to start. Through intent data, your sales team can build a year’s pipeline by reaching target audiences.
To get the value of your sales, you can use intent data categorizing with a professional group, seniority, functional area, business size, and more for targeted prospects. And if your data provides contact information, your sales team will have an even deeper understanding of the dynamics of prospects’ buying activities.
Moreover, learning about the fact if a CEO or a random visitor visits your website creates a difference between a quality lead and a generic one. There are times when organizations don’t vigorously look for a product. But with the right content force, you can direct them towards a purchase decision. This way, you can get a chance to pitch and improve sales.
So, how can content pitch sales?
The next point explains the importance of nurturing content on your website.
Nurture with Personalized Content
Once you target new prospects, you can nurture them with excellent and informational marketing content. These can be in various forms like articles, blogs, advertisements, social media, infographics, and more.
Personalization results better in the sea of marketing (digitally or manually). Since the pandemic has pushed the digital world extensively, personalization is on a hike. Companies that personalize their marketing strategies to communicate are improved by 86% in customer relations, have higher conversation rates, and observed improvement in businesses.
To personalize your content, you have to look at intent data and search for the prospect’s interests. After your research, you can create content for them. Paying attention to contextual information will improve the prospect’s experience, causing them to turn into your client.
After you create personalized content, what will happen next? Find out ahead.
Generate High-Quality Leads
Intent data tells you how far each prospect has progressed. A combination of intent and context data helps with lead scoring, which shows you the quality of leads.
A visit to your website by an intern is somewhat different from a CEO’s visit.
Consuming content on general industry information differs in value from product-specific content that provides information on websites.
When a visitor compares prices, it intends to buy, opposite to a visitor who bookmarks pages.
Besides, intent data for manufacturers also tells:
Channels to target your prospects actively.
Content to encourage
Offers to serve
The timing of each lead nurturing action
Improve Account-Based Marketing Campaigns
Account-based marketing and intent data go hand-in-hand. So, it would be best if you worked through every possible path to collect more information about your prospects. This way, it will help you take a focused approach. Once you identify the interested prospects, you can focus your time and energy on those accounts and expand your reach.
Intent data helps you to find more in-market customers. They can score leads with better precision and re-shape your marketing campaigns by showing up with the right message at the right time.
Include Marketing Automation Operations
Implementing marketing automation technologies with intent data will save your team's time. As they usually spent analyzing data entry by automatically setting alerts when buyers intend to show their interest.
Why is Intent Data for Manufacturing Becoming Crucial for Future?
With marketers, or say, manufacturing marketers, it's always vital to drive revenue for business and get ahead with trending marketing paths. For this, knowing intent of prospects is a must to gain success.
Knowing a prospector’s behavior can help your marketing team target a specific profile and create personalized content on demand to increase their purchase decision. After all the information is collected, prospects become more knowledgeable and informed of the decision they make. More information attracts more potential buyers when they are informed conveniently at the right time and manner. In this entire process, you gain an increased ROI.
These aspects are incomplete without intent data for manufacturers, which targets numerous data and creates an easy baseline so that marketers can learn precisely about potential prospects’ behaviors. Intent data can be used for the future through a particular pattern. Generic marketing campaigns delivered to a random audience will simply shut down your business. Because now, the users expect to see content that’s valuable to them.
Therefore, intent data for manufacturers is the key to providing better answers and solutions and allowing better marketing budgets. Both of these lead to more conversions which results in more revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is intent data collected?
The collection of intent data is not new to marketers. It has gained prominence only after the pandemic. The data is gathered through the website. Its analysis is done by tracking visitors to the website, clicks, chatbots, duration of stay, and information search.
How can manufacturers leverage intent data?
The steps to leverage are:
1. identify the prospect and what it wants to search or trying to search. It could be keywords, trending words or phrases, and more.
2. Create quality yet informational content following the prospects’ interest.
3. Now, it’s time to promote content with the right on different channels to attract prospects.
What are the intent data tools for manufacturers?
Some good intent data tools manufacturers can use are:
What is buyer intent data for manufacturers?
Through buyer intent data, your sales team easily reaches out and gets engaged with the right prospect at the right time. Manufacturing marketers use it to plan can create effective campaigns to target potential ones and convince them to buy.
"name": "HOW IS INTENT DATA COLLECTED?",
"text": "The collection of intent data is not new to marketers. It has gained prominence only after the pandemic. The data is gathered through the website. Its analysis is done by tracking visitors to the website, clicks, chatbots, duration of stay, and information search."
"name": "HOW CAN MANUFACTURERS LEVERAGE INTENT DATA?",
"text": "The steps to leverage are:
1. identify the prospect and what it wants to search or trying to search. It could be keywords, trending words or phrases, and more.
2. Create quality yet informational content following the prospects’ interest.
3. Now, it’s time to promote content with the right on different channels to attract prospects."
"name": "WHAT ARE THE INTENT DATA TOOLS FOR MANUFACTURERS?",
"text": "Some good intent data tools manufacturers can use are:
"name": "WHAT IS BUYER INTENT DATA FOR MANUFACTURERS?",
"text": "Through buyer intent data, your sales team easily reaches out and gets engaged with the right prospect at the right time. Manufacturing marketers use it to plan can create effective campaigns to target potential ones and convince them to buy."
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.