Article | March 4, 2022
Cyber manufacturing is a term that refers to a modern manufacturing system that allows for asset management, reconfiguration, and productivity maintenance in a way that is easy to see and use.
Industry 4.0 anticipates an era of enormous opportunity for innovation and prosperity. Additionally, it introduces new risks and challenges in today's manufacturing cyber scene.
“Cybersecurity is starting to become more prevalent within organizations, so opportunities to grow in this industry will never end if you have the correct drive and determination.”
– Joe Boyle, SEO of SaltDNA
Numerous manufacturing organizations are experiencing an increase in cyber-attacks on control systems used to oversee industrial processes. Some of these systems may include programmable logic controllers and distributed control systems, as well as embedded systems and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
To help you develop a strong and secure manufacturing operation, this article will outline the multiple sorts of cyber-attacks in manufacturing and how you may improve manufacturing security. Let's begin with the importance of cybersecurity in the manufacturing industry.
Why is Cybersecurity in Manufacturing Crucial?
From January to March of 2019, the number of ransomware attacks in the manufacturing industry has increased by 156%. This is a big change, so it's important to have strong cyber security in the manufacturing process. Wherever software is in use, there is a high probability of cyber-attacks. The manufacturing industry is digitizing itself with cutting-edge technologies connected via the internet and various software. Therefore, the manufacturing industry is particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The following are some of the key reasons why manufacturers should prioritize manufacturing cybersecurity:
Increase in the use of IoT devices in the industry
Increase in the cost of data breaches
Increase in the number of cyber-attacks across industries
Increase in the severity of cyber-attacks
Increase in the use of widely accessible hacking tools
Increase in the use of remote workers
Five Major Types of Manufacturing Cyber Attacks
Due to the rising value of ransomware, cybercriminals have switched their attention away from selling personal and financial data. Unfortunately, industrial companies stand to lose a lot. Until the hacker's demands are met, this malware locks files on a network and makes them impossible to use.
If a ransom (typically millions) is not paid, threat actors may sell or leak important data. Until the ransom is paid, ransomware users render the company's network inaccessible. This strategy works well for attackers in the manufacturing industry because downtime is costly, and no manufacturer would like to encounter it for a long time.
Ransomware assaults generally occur on weekends or holidays to maximize damage before the attack is realized. This allows hackers to wait in comfort during a busy manufacturing period. Manufacturing enterprises are a desirable target for numerous reasons. A wide network of OT devices and a long supply chain make many endpoints and security flaws.
Phishing is the most common type of network assault. Phishing emails are frequently used to gain access to a target firm to carry out further detrimental assaults or acts. For instance, in 2016, a CEO sent an email to a global solar panel manufacturer’s employee.
The email claimed that precise information about internal employees was required. The employee transmitted the data without confirming it. The CEO received the information. Unfortunately, the CEO was a cybercriminal, and the employee was phished, disclosing firm secrets. Perhaps the next generation of thieves will commit even more advanced and sophisticated penetrations and attacks.
Phishing attacks are characterized by the following characteristics:
Emails with malicious attachments
Emails with hyperlinks that differ from well-known websites and are misspelt
Emails with an attention-grabbing title or content
Emails from an unusual sender
Urgent orders or to-do items
Supply Chain Attacks
In the manufacturing business, no single firm can complete the entire production cycle. It must rely on several manufacturers' parts and components to complete the manufacturing and assembly of the entire product. As a result, numerous parties should coordinate to ensure an effective production process. This technique introduces the risk of supply chain attacks.
Numerous criminals utilize supply chain hacks to steal critical data and intellectual property rights from manufacturers. If a malicious attacker gets permission from the manufacturer's partner to access their network, they may steal critical information or data, and even essential manufacturing records, wreaking havoc on the business.
Additionally, manufacturers' external software or hardware poses security vulnerabilities, and there is a danger of attack along the equipment and system supply chain. Most products are developed using open-source or closed-source components, yet all these components have some level of security vulnerability.
The following are common indicators that your network has been compromised by a third party:
Incorrect usernames and passwords are used to access software systems
Strange redirects to unknown websites
Software freezes or crashes
As the intelligent transformation of manufacturing continues to progress, the Internet of Things' role in facilitating this process becomes increasingly critical. Manufacturers can optimize production processes more effectively and precisely by utilizing various IoT devices. For instance, businesses track assets, collect data, and perform analysis using IoT sensors embedded in devices. These sensors continuously monitor the various operating parameters of the equipment and critical data to enable automatic recovery and minimize maintenance downtime.
Increased security risks occur because of the proliferation of various IoT devices in manufacturing plants. IoT devices have networking capabilities and can be easily connected to a network. Typically, manufacturers' IoT, industrial control, and office networks are not adequately isolated. They can get into the industrial control network through public flaws or zero-day attacks on IoT devices. They can then launch malicious attacks on critical production equipment, which can stop production and cause processing accidents.
Most manufacturing cyber attacks are carried out by outsiders, but nearly 30% originate from insiders or those with access to the company. As with external hackers, these attacks are frequently motivated by financial gain. However, some employees or former employees attack a business out of rage or dissatisfaction.
Internal threat actors do not require network access. They can access sensitive data by leveraging their existing knowledge or credentials. A threat actor is more likely to carry out an attack invisibly and undetected with pre-existing credentials. Unfortunately, former employees can typically access this information if passwords or entry methods are not changed to prevent such attacks.
Because of the increased use of personal devices and remote work, employees can unintentionally be the cause of an internal breach. Most businesses were unprepared for the regulations that would accompany a global pandemic. As manufacturing companies looked for ways to stay afloat by maintaining employees remotely, few had the necessary technological equipment to keep each employee as safe as the company's employees.
Many home-based employees discovered that working from home was not easy, as the line between personal and work time became increasingly blurred and eventually vanished. For hackers, these home networks and the use of unprotected personal devices have opened a new avenue for obtaining sensitive data from large andsmall businesses.
How to Mitigate Manufacturing Cyber Attack
Make Sure Your Software Is up to Date
Install software patches to prevent attackers from exploiting known issues or vulnerabilities. Numerous operating systems include an automatic update feature. If available, ensure that this option is enabled.
Utilize Current Antivirus Software
Install software patches to prevent attackers from exploiting known issues or vulnerabilities. Numerous operating systems include an automatic update feature. Ensure that this option is enabled if it is available.
Make Use of Strong Passwords
Set up password rules. A stolen or default password is used in 63% of confirmed data breaches. Create strong passwords that are difficult to guess and use unique passwords for each program and device. Experts advise using passphrases or passwords of at least 16 characters.
Make Use of MFA Tool
MFA validates a user's identity using at least two identification components. This stops attackers from taking advantage of weak authentication mechanisms, which lowers the risk of someone getting into your account even if they know the login credentials.
Train Employees on Security Awareness
Security awareness training unites employees, eliminates risks and events, and protects both the company and the employees. Employees should also be taught how to look for and deal with threats like phishing.
Industry 4.0 is all about smart technologies that operate with the help of the internet. It increases the probability of manufacturing equipment and software being hacked. Therefore, while you intend to create a smart environment in your manufacturing facility, you must take the necessary cyber security measures.
The strategies mentioned in this article to mitigate the cyber-attacks will ensure that you take every precaution to keep the working environment safe. There are many ways to protect your manufacturing business from cyberattacks. The techniques and the types of attacks described in this article will help you know what to opt for and which attacks to look for in your manufacturing business.
What are the most common cyber security threats?
Phishing attacks are the most common cyber security threats that employees fall for. With the advancement of phishing attacks, many employees lack the knowledge necessary to spot a phishing email. Additionally, many employees have poor cyber security practices, such as using the same password for work and personal devices, which is also one of the reasons for rising phishing attacks.
What are the cyber security challenges in Industry 4.0?
Smart factories are vulnerable to the same types of attacks as conventional networks, including vulnerability exploitation, malware, denial of service (DoS), device hacking, and other typical attack tactics.
What is CPS in manufacturing?
CPS (Cyber Physical Systems) are defined as designed systems that are comprised of and reliant on the seamless integration of computer algorithms and physical components.
Article | 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.
Article | December 2, 2021
The world of manufacturing is continuously evolving in the 21st century, and companies have to combat competition, altering consumer demands, and unexpected events to be able to deliver in today’s experience. Global connectivity, innovation, and disruption are all reshaping the manufacturing industry, but a world-class business platform can help companies transform operations digitally to keep up with an evermore digitized world. The factory of the future will allow manufacturers to enhance production through the convergence of information technology with factory operations, combining the effectiveness of the virtual world with the materiality of the physical world to lower costs, increase flexibility, and better meet customer expectations.
The factory of the future functions on four dimensions: resource planning, manufacturing planning, planning and optimization, and manufacturing operations. Resource planning involves defining and simpulating the plant layout, flow, assets, and resources needed to efficiently develop products in a safe environment. Normal production change requests can be quickly validated by using 3D virtual experience twin technology. This technology could also quickly pivot operations to alternative products in the case of disruptive events. Manufacturing planning enriches the resource and product definition by defining and validating a process plan and creating work instructions that meet production goals.
Digital visualization of resource and process changes can also help speed up time-to-production in any scenario no matter the location by leveraging the cloud. Planning and optimization of supply chains across planning horizons will help manufacturers gain visibility with planning and scheduling by having the ability to model, simulate, and optimize alternative supply and production plans to reduce disruptions. Lastly, manufacturing operations management can transform global production operations to attain and maintain operational excellence. Manufacturers can create, manage, and govern operational processes on a global scale while maintaining operational integrity to meet altering demands.
For the factory of the future to come about successfully, there needs to be connected technology and shared data. Technology has to be adaptable with robotics and equipment that can be reconstructed to house changes and new products. An AI-powered product demand simulation is necessary to maintain agility and boost productivity. A versatile, cross-functional workforce with the ability to explicate data and function well in AR environments is also required along with smart factory technology such as wearable sensors and virtual prototypes. Through all this, the factory of the future can connect technologies across the product life cycle while optimizing the workforce and increasing sustainability.
Although achieving the factory of the future has several benefits, creating a feasible factory of the future plan can be challenging. In 2018, only 12% of companies had a mature factory of the future plan. One of the main challenges that companies face is a lack of internal skills to devise digital solutions. However, this can be combated by carefully considering how you can utilize digital technologies to deliver improved performance, resiliency, and flexibility. It is easier to begin with small steps and to collaborate with a partner who could support your efforts to build toward your desired transformation goal. It is important to always be prepared by evaluating your next steps, industry trends, and progress metrics. It is also crucial to focus on the people, process, and technology you’re using to have a successful transformation journey.
Manufacturing with the factory of the future can provide savings in a wide range of categories. For example, it can reduce virtual vehicles build time by 80%, increase on-time performance of industrial equipment by 45%, and reduce modular construction time of construction, cities, and territories by 70%. Leading the transformation of the manufacturing space towards the direction of the factory of the future will allow manufacturers to work smart and better meet the needs of the end consumers.
Article | January 4, 2022
Lead generation for manufacturers has always been tough due to a lack of knowledge about new technology and trends that can help them generate more business leads. There are still a lot of small and mid-sized manufacturing companies that rely on antiquated manufacturer lead generation methods.
In this article, we'll discuss some proven methods for generating leads that can help you increase your company's sales and improve your overall return on investment.
"Don’t think of your lead as "LEADS." Instead, think of them as people who are frustrated because understanding and buying your product is too hard. Your job is to make it easy for them to learn about your product and get started. "
—Andy Pitre, VP of Product, HubSpot
So let's get started.
Factors That Must Be Aligned to Drive New Business Leads
Landing pages are mini-websites embedded into your site. To deliver an experience that speaks directly to the user's intent, marketers use landing pages. Create unique landing pages for every industrial lead generation campaign.
To generate quality leads, you need to have a strong call to action (CTA). CTAs are usually buttons that allow users to submit information, visit a landing page, or download an e-book or white paper.
Your CTA must be compelling. Give your prospects a reason to click and remove any barriers to the click. CTAs should be bold, high-contrast, and easily identifiable.
Without forms, it is impossible to collect leads. Therefore, visitors will be asked to fill out forms that collect their contact information in exchange for an offer.
Every lead contains a transaction. A company provides a valuable service in exchange for a prospect's contact information. You won't get many leads unless you provide value to your potential customers.
This offer comes in the form of an e-book, consultation, coupon code, or whitepaper. To generate more leads, make compelling offers.
The above components can't exist if you don't have a website. If you want to emphasize your business, you need to generate quality leads. Why? Because most of today's B2B buyers are millennials, who are highly tech-savvy and increasingly conduct their supplier research online.
How to Generate Manufacturing Leads: 5 Effective Techniques
Create a Website That Converts
"The lead generation process starts by finding out where our target market ‘lives’ on the web."
– Wayne Davis
Your website should be a trusted source of quality leads. Unfortunately, many companies lose sight of this and develop websites that are cumbersome and difficult to browse, causing a rift between you and your potential customers.
Don't expect people to behave if your site doesn't encourage them to act. Your website should have clear "call to action" buttons and lead capture options that allow visitors to contact you in a simple and pleasant way.
Additionally, there are website optimization tools available, including PageSpeed Insights, Hotjar, Google Optimize, and WAVE. All of the above-mentioned website optimization tools provide complimentary services. So, this is the most accessible and most reliable approach to generating web leads.
Make Descriptive Infographics
Infographics are a great way to provide prospects with helpful information while motivating them to contact you. Most importantly, infographics establish your company as a thought leader and unconsciously identify you with industry authority.
According to recent surveys,
Nearly 41% of respondents indicated that infographics and illustrations are the most effective solutions for achieving their business objectives.
On social media, infographics receive three times the number of shares as other types of content.
Articles that included infographics received 72% more views than standard articles.
A great infographic has a great design. If your organization lacks an in-house graphics team, you can simply locate a freelance designer to create a stunning infographic for you.
Your infographics are ageless pieces of material that can be reused for smart marketing and lead generation manufacturing.
Here's an example of an infographic from Digital Marketing Philippines from 2019 that received over 1,600 shares and is jam-packed with data and text. In this way, you can see how the company may have gotten its leads from these 1600 shares, each of which is a potential customer.
Host an Event
According to Bizzabo,
86% of senior management (Senior Managers, Executives, and Board Members) believe that in-person events are critical to the success of their company.
The majority of B2B marketers (97%) believe in-person events have a significant impact on achieving business goals.
According to Marketing Charts,
68% of B2B marketers agree that in-person events aid in lead generation for manufacturers, while case studies help with lead conversion and acceleration.
Improve manufacturing lead generation through events that can occur both online and offline. Organize any kind of event to attract your target market while collecting contact information. Use live events to interact with consumers in real-time, answering questions, addressing objections, learning about your audience, and guiding prospects through the sales funnel. Consider webinars, workshops, seminars, meetups, and conferences.
Create a Value-Packed Newsletter
"Content is the fuel for your lead generation efforts."
– Dayna Rothman
According to the Content Marketing Institute,
31% of B2B marketers believe email newsletters are the most effective way to nurture leads.
81% of B2B marketers report that email newsletters are their most frequently used form of content marketing.
Create a must-read newsletter that invites interested prospects to engage and remain connected with your company. This enables you to stay top-of-mind with consumers and promote your products and services to move prospects along the sales funnel.
The newsletter can have new blog entries, product or service updates, special deals, upcoming events, and recommended reading from other thought leaders.
Incorporate SEO into Your Marketing Plan
According to Intergrowth,
61% of B2B marketers say SEO and organic traffic generate more leads than any other type of marketing.
Search engine leads convert at a rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (cold calling, direct mail, etc.) convert at a rate of 1.7%.
Manufacturers are no exception when it comes to the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). As a result, you may generate many leads with the correct marketing approach and a profound grasp of SEO for manufacturers.
When we consider the statistics explained earlier in this article, we can see the benefits of all of the techniques mentioned and how they can help you increase your lead generation and, as a result, your overall business ROI.
Thus, we can refer to the above-mentioned lead generation techniques as sales-driven strategies that will assist you at every lead generation and conversion stage. Improved lead generation for manufacturers enables businesses to reach a vast customer base and generate more high-quality leads.
What is a high-quality lead in manufacturing?
Leads of high quality have an increased propensity to convert into paying consumers. The more qualified your leads are, the more likely they will buy your product or service.
What are the lead generation challenges?
Making accurate data, shaping conversations, and converting qualified leads into sales are some of the significant challenges in manufacturing lead generation.