Insights

Manufacturing Tomorrow

Prepare for what lies ahead. Intelligent insights and innovative ideas to help you stay on top of issues impacting your manufacturing business.


How to Streamline Engineering Change Orders (ECO), Revision Workflows and Processes
Dec 11, 2018

By Michael Wagner

Streamline Engineering Change Orders, Revision Workflows and Processes
There is, perhaps, no more foundational component of a manufacturer’s success than the design and function of its products. The impact of the decisions made by engineers and product designers can impact everything down the line, and one miscommunication or missed detail can have a snowball effect, leading to production delays, budget shortfalls and disgruntled customers.

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Tips for Improving Customer Sales Order Management and Accuracy
Nov 20, 2018

By Suzanne Koss

Improving Customer Sales Order Management and Accuracy
The manufacturing sector is thriving in the U.S., and that means more production, more jobs and more sales orders. That’s great news, but keeping up with supply and demand is a growing challenge for many organizations.

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Manufacturers: Is Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation Right for You?
Nov 06, 2018

By Andrew J. Potasek

As a manufacturer, you’re always looking for ways to better connect people, processes and technology so that they work together to grow your business and enable its future success and longevity. The ability to more effectively manage processes, schedule resources and analyze results is crucial to meeting your short- and long-term needs and goals.

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Improving Customer Retention With Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Oct 30, 2018

By Michael Wagner

Improving Customer Retention-Main_ERP_and_Customer_support 180
A single sales cycle for some manufactured goods can span weeks, months or even years. Rightly so, manufacturers place a lot of emphasis and company resources on customer acquisition, including sales staff, lead-generation, print collateral, trade shows and incentives.

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How Technology and Machine Learning Are Disrupting Demand Planning
Oct 23, 2018

By Suzanne Koss

Demand Plannin_180
Managing the supply chain, inventory levels and capacity planning have been perennial challenges for manufacturers, and traditional practices have not always proven reliable. Perhaps that’s because demand planning, which encompasses these areas and more, is often considered a “big event” as part of a static yearly forecast. Because of the fast pace of today’s manufacturing climate, however, those forecasts can quickly become outdated.

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How the Power of ERP Data Can Improve Supplier Performance
Oct 16, 2018

By Suzanne Koss

Supplier Performance for SCM_180
Does your manufacturing facility have a process in place for measuring, analyzing and managing each supplier’s performance to ensure they meet your expectations and follow through on their obligations? Sure, you may have supplier scorecards, but without accurate and timely data, you’ll be hard-pressed to start a useful dialogue about improving results.

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Shop Floor Optics: The Mystery of Production Leakage - Using Data to Find the Root Cause
Oct 09, 2018

By Mark Stevens

The Mystery of Lost Production  Using Data to Find the Root Cause_180
Factory production of durable goods in the U.S. has grown in recent months and is 2.8% higher than it was a year ago. Seeming to contradict that trend is the factory utilization rate. This indicator of productive capacity stands at 75.9% and is 2.4 percentage points below its long-run average.

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Shop Floor Optics: Improve Your Supply Chain Management and Profits With IoT
Oct 02, 2018

By Michael Wagner

Improve Supply Chain Management and Profits with IoT180
A major factor in ensuring the efficient production of any manufactured good is the timely delivery of materials from suppliers and warehouses. The supply chain isn’t just about the flow of raw materials, however; it has a major impact on the flow of time and money throughout an organization. Delays in getting parts into the hands of machine operators can lead to costly downtime that eats away at profits.

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How to Improve Productivity Compliance and Engagement With Accurate PTO Tracking
Sep 25, 2018

Accurate PTO Tracking
It seems ironic that tracking an employee’s paid time off (PTO) ends up taking a lot of time for many HR professionals. Outdated systems such as spreadsheets, email folders and handwritten notes require manual processes and are prone to errors, and the inconvenience of searching through various files diminishes productivity.

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3 Ways Discrete Manufacturers Can Build Customer Relations
Sep 11, 2018

By Suzanne Koss

Discrete Manufacturers: Customer Relations for Sales and Marketing Workflow
The manufacturing sector is facing a period of major disruption and change, fueled by technological advancements and evolving customer needs and expectations. To stay competitive and keep pace with the marketplace, manufacturers will need to embrace innovation and rethink many of their current business strategies and processes — including those that drive their customer relationships.

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3 Ways Engineering Can Leverage ERP to Drive Manufacturing Outcomes
Aug 28, 2018

3 Ways Engineering Can Leverage ERP to Drive Manufacturing Outcomes
More mature ERP systems are now designed to handle multifaceted engineering processes and project management, creating transparency from concept all the way through to production and fulfillment. Let’s take a look at how leveraging ERP project management functionalities as it relates to engineering can have a major impact on profitability and overall efficiencies in three major areas.

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Shop Floor Optics: How Data Empowers Supervisors and Improves Employee Engagement
Aug 21, 2018

How Data Empowers Supervisors and Improves Employee Engagement
In manufacturing, productivity is a foundation of profitability. Keeping employees engaged and motivated to perform at their best in a manufacturing setting requires more than a yearly review based on observations and standardized forms. The most effective supervisors invest in their workers daily by providing relevant feedback based on real-time data.

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Shop Floor Optics: Identifying Downtime Causes and Equipment Faults to Improve Uptime
Jul 31, 2018

By Jake R. Rohrer

Identifying Downtime Causes and Equipment Faults to Improve Uptime
Improving uptime in the modern age requires leveraging the latest IIoT software to help workers identify downtime patterns and equipment faults to proactively address them in the future. We’ll take a look at how using Shop Floor Optics technology to capture machine data in real-time and improve several key performance indicators (KPIs).

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How to More Accurately Forecast Sales and Marketing
Jul 24, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Forecasting for Sales and Marketing
In today’s rapidly changing business climate, it’s difficult to accurately project revenue earnings and marketing expenses for each month, let alone the next year. Forecasting is a combination of art and science but, with some effort, you can remove some of the guesswork and inject a bit more science into the process.

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Shop Floor Optics: How to Increase Uptime and Profitability
Jul 17, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Shop Floor Optics Infographic preview
Forward-thinking manufacturers are finding ways to merge the gap between human and mechanical processes to drive efficiencies and productivity even further by maximizing their current equipment to its fullest extent. Instead of investing millions in new machines, they’re leveraging hidden capacity they didn’t even know they had.

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Differences Between ERP and CRM — And Why Integration is Important for Manufacturers
Jul 10, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Difference Between ERP and CRM
For manufacturers, two softwares often implemented are Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). As the name of each suggests, ERP helps manage business processes of an entire enterprise, whereas CRM manages relationships with customers and clients. Let’s take a look at the functionality of each and see how the two systems can ideally work together.

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How to Increase Manufacturing Productivity in 2018 Without Adding Labor Costs
Jun 26, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Increase Manufacturing ProductivityFollow these tips and best practices for increasing production on the manufacturing floor and throughout an entire enterprise. See how productivity relies on the relationship between efficient employees, equipment, technology and processes.

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Why CRM is More Than Just a Sales Tool
Jun 20, 2018

By Mark Stevens

CRM More Than a Sales TooCRM has moved way beyond just being a support tool for sales; it is being leveraged by marketing, customer service, project managers, HR, finance, and more. See how CRM can improve collaboration and profits.

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Top 4 Manufacturing Challenges of Implementing IoT
Jun 12, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Challenges of Implementing IoTIoT adoption in manufacturing facilities is inevitable, at least for manufacturers that want to remain competitive. Learn about the top four challenges of IoT adoption and how to address them.

 

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Psychology of Shop Floor Dashboards & Productivity
Jun 05, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Psychology of Shop Floor DashboardsHere’s a look at some of the factors impacting performance, along with examples of the types of dashboards and visual data that can helps galvanize an entire workforce.

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7 Tips for Successful CRM Implementation in Manufacturing
May 29, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Manufacturing CRMUse these 7 best practices prior to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software implementation. Before you determine which CRM is right for your manufacturing facility, it’s important to establish what you want it to do. 

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Six Factors That Determine IOT Implementation Costs for Manufacturers
May 23, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Cost to Implement IoTThese top six factors for implementing IoT can help you better understand your unique needs and help you make sure you’re asking the right questions to cover your bases, set expectations, and determine pricing.

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Overcome 5 Common Manufacturing Issues with CRM
May 15, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Manufacturing Issues CRMA CRM system can result in considerable ROI, but a robust, modern platform brings the greatest results and can improve these five pain points experienced by many manufacturers.

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5 Ways the IoT Can Increase Manufacturing Capacity and Uptime
May 08, 2018

By Mark Stevens

IIoT Gain CapacityThe IoT is transforming manufacturing and leading to faster production, greater efficiencies, and higher quality. Learn the five ways the IoT increases capacity and profits.

 

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How Engineers and Designers Can Leverage ERP During Product Development
May 03, 2018

Leverage ERP Product DesignSee how even small design changes impact each department within a manufacturing facility, and how ERP can make the transition go smoothly.

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Demand Planning Reconsidered: Using Cost to Serve and ERP Systems to Maximize Profitability
Apr 24, 2018

By Suzanne Koss

Demand PlanningCost-to-Serve data bridge the gap between demand planning and supply chain details by quantifying all supply chain activities and costs incurred to fulfill specific customers’ product demands.

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How Improved Bills of Materials (BOM) and Routings Benefits Manufacturers
Apr 17, 2018

BOMs and RoutesBills of Materials (BOM) and routes are essential to creating efficient workflows and profitable outcomes in manufacturing, but accuracy is critical. ERP can help.

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7 Ways to Forecast Manufacturing Sales More Accurately with CRM
Apr 11, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Forecast Sales with CRMUnderstand how modern CRM software can improve the accuracy of sales forecasts for manufacturers by creating upsell opportunities, nurturing leads, tracking assets, producing reports, and more.

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It’s Time to Get Serious About Creating an Efficient Close Process
Apr 03, 2018

Financial processes and close management are more demanding for companies. Create efficiencies, reduce errors, and remain competitive with ERP.

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Machine Learning and the Discrete Manufacturer
Mar 27, 2018

By Suzanne Koss

Machine LearningMachine learning can help discrete manufacturers to make better, more informed decisions that facilitate growth and a competitive market advantage. 

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Why the Latest CRM is Essential for Manufacturers
Mar 14, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Manufacturing CRMCRM for manufacturing has changed a lot in the last few years. It’s no longer just a salesforce tool and, instead, gives all departments insights into the entire customer journey.

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Manufacturers Must Embrace Future of IoT Technology or Fall Behind
Mar 12, 2018

By Mark Stevens

Manufacturing TechnologySee how the latest technology trends, the IIoT, and machine learning are providing a competitive advantage to manufacturers and allowing them to combine the power of people, data, and equipment to drive outcomes.

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How to Leverage the IoT in Manufacturing [Infographic]
Jan 25, 2018

By Mark Stevens

IoT InfographicCritical to successful implementation of IoT practices is a manufacturer’s comprehensive understanding of how IoT informs manufacturing, influences specific aspects of the supply chain and plant floor, and impacts anticipated results in processes and products. 

 

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To Modernize or Migrate? Is There Really a Difference?
Jan 16, 2018

Modernize or MigrateShould you migrate or modernize your organization’s technology? Is there even a difference? Yes – learn which is best for your organization! 

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How An ERP System Optimizes The Product Development Process
Dec 20, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

ERP and Product DevelopmentAn ERP system aids new product development and launch processes by providing a comprehensive view of all aspects of manufacturing and selling a product. 

 

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Continuous Improvement Programs: Reducing Discrete Manufacturers’ Stress
Dec 12, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Continuous ImprovementLearn how a commitment to quality and development of a continuous improvement program can help ensure discrete manufacturers’ profitability and agility.

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Digital Manufacturing: How to Forecast Financial Implications
Dec 06, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Forecast Financial ImplicationsDigital manufacturing will have great financial implications for manufacturers and will require a creative approach to pay for it.

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IT and OT Alignment: The Key to Greater Efficiency in Discrete Manufacturing
Nov 28, 2017

By Mark Stevens

Ops and IT alignmentDiscrete manufacturers’ IT & OT teams must be aligned/integrated to achieve peak efficiency. But how? Here’s a look at the benefits and how to get started.

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The Digital Workforce: What Does it Mean for Discrete Manufacturers?
Nov 14, 2017

By Mark Stevens

Digital Workforce ManufacturingThe digital landscape will impact discrete manufacturers. See how automation and technology can be part of a work force, not in place of it.

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The Benefits of ERP and CRM Integration
Nov 07, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

ERP and CRM IntegrationERP and CRM systems are powerful tools that, when integrated into one database, further improve your organization’s efficiencies and customer service. 

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Are Robots a Threat to Todays Manufacturing Workforce?
Oct 31, 2017

By Mark Stevens

Robots and ManufacturingRobots won’t replace all manufacturing jobs. See a list of critical functions that only skilled and unskilled labor can perform. These jobs won’t go away.

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Are Robots Good for Discrete Manufacturers?
Oct 24, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Robots and Discrete ManufacturingRobots can streamline discrete manufacturing and, contrary to popular belief, the age of Manufacturing 4.0 and robots will translate to more U.S. jobs.

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What Discrete Manufacturers Need to Know About Cybersecurity
Oct 11, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Cybersecurity and ManufacturingManufacturers have plenty of reason to fear cyber attacks. Here’s an overview of what to do to protect your organization from harm, today and in the future.

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Supply Chain Inventory Optimization for Discrete Manufacturers
Oct 05, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Supply Chain Inventory OptimizationManufacturers struggle with supply chain efficiency, which impacts profitability. An ERP system can help overcome common business performance challenges.

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Discrete Manufacturers Control Inventory and Costs with ERP
Sep 18, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Control Inventory CostsAn ERP system provides discrete manufacturers with insights, data, and analytics that allow for seamless, accurate inventory control and cost management.

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The Demands Driving Supply Chain Innovation in Discrete Manufacturing
Sep 12, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Driving Supply Chain InnovationToday, discrete manufacturers must be highly agile in order to satisfy customer demands for more complex orders, shipped faster. How? With an ERP solution.

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Automation and Supply Chain Flexibility in Manufacturing
Sep 05, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Supply Chain FlexibilityERP system workflow automation benefits manufacturers in many ways, improving agility, responsiveness, production time, and easing labor constraints.

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Streamlining Invoice Processing: How to Break Free From Manual Reporting
Aug 22, 2017

Streamlining Invoice Processing Cloud-based systems that can be accessed in both direct and mobile capacities, like automated expense reporting and invoice processing, offer a much more cohesive and streamlined experience for business leaders and employees alike.

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What’s the Way Forward to Achieve Digital Transformation?
Aug 18, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Achieving Digital TransformationIf you’re ready to take your company to the next level with a digital transformation, use this overview of the steps you need to take on your journey.

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How Digital Transformation Will Change Your Discrete Manufacturing Operation
Aug 08, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Digital Transformation ManufacturingBefore your discrete manufacturing organization becomes more digitally enabled, it’s important to understand the basic principles and changes involved. 

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Technologies Driving Digital Transformation in Discrete Manufacturing
Aug 01, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Technology Driving Digital TransformationTechnologies have advanced significantly to offer tools that sound space-age, yet are available and practical for most discrete manufacturers.

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How Digital Transformation Impacts Discrete Manufacturers
Jul 27, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Digital Transformation Impacts Discrete ManufacturersDiscrete manufacturers that don’t digitally transform will fall behind—fast—and be unable to catch up with those that do. 

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What Discrete Manufacturers Need to Know About Robots
Jul 11, 2017

By Mark Stevens

Discrete Manufacturers RobotsRobots can give discrete manufacturers a significant marketplace advantage by improving the quality and consistency and reducing overall operating costs. 

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Disruption in Manufacturing: What Does It Mean & How Can You Take Advantage of It?
Jul 05, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Disruption in ManufacturingWhen a company decides to watch for and take advantage of disruption, it’s essentially agreeing to “strategic risk,” leveraging uncertainty to find new opportunities that will give the organization a competitive advantage.

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The Real Cost of Unplanned Downtime—How to Avoid the Risks
Jun 28, 2017

By Mark Stevens

Comments (1)

Cost of Unplanned DowntimeEvery hour of unplanned downtime can cost manufacturers tens of thousands of dollars. See the true costs and how an IoT solution can help avoid costly failures. 

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What’s the Potential Payback of the IoT for Discrete Manufacturers?
Jun 21, 2017

By Mark Stevens

IoT Payback ManufacturingThe IoT has impressive potential to not only improve efficiencies and boost productivity, but also to help an organization predict its maintenance needs and avoid costly failures. 

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Enterprise or Best of Class: Which Solution Fits Your Company?
May 31, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Enterprise ERP solutions or best in classAn ERP solution is comprehensive, but it may be too much of a good thing if your company can effectively optimize processes using best of class software.

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Are ERP Best Practices Really Best for My Operation?
May 24, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

ERP Best PracticesAn ERP system can be a boon for your business provided “best practices” are defined by your business needs, not the technical functionalities of the software. 

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How ERP Systems Can Support and Enhance Lean Manufacturing
May 17, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

ERP and Lean ManufacturingCan lean manufacturing and ERP systems coexist to support minimal-waste production, or are their goals simply too divergent? Find out here.

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What's Your ERP Data Really Worth?
May 09, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Manufacturing DataAn ERP system has dollar value, but it also creates value with integrated capabilities that drive strategies, streamline processes and elevate service.

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How Fast Should I Implement an ERP System
Apr 28, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Implementing an ERP system quickly seems like a good idea, but pushing the implementation envelope in these particular areas can derail its effectiveness.

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How Millennials are Influencing ERP for Manufacturing
Apr 24, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Comments (1)

There are four prevalent Millennial-driven trends related to data management that ERP solutions readily offer. 

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How ERP Helps Solve Logistics Issues for Discrete Manufacturers
Apr 18, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

A common thread in solving logistics issues for discrete manufacturers is accurate information, making ERP a vital part of the process.

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5 Key Technology Trends for Discrete Manufacturers
Apr 12, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Keeping on top of technology trends can help you plan to work smarter, more profitably, and at a competitive advantage. The advent and evolution of technology has given forward-thinking manufacturers a distinct advantage. Here are five trends you should know. 

 

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6 Ways Discrete Manufacturers Can Avoid Common Scheduling Issues
Apr 05, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Efficient production planning is key in realizing discrete manufacturing’s full potential, but you have to avoid and address these six common missteps. 

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4 Steps to Aligning Product Costs, Profitability, and Pricing
Mar 21, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Costs and profitability work hand in hand, but not all discrete manufacturers leverage the interdependency to improve organizational performance or set optimal product pricing. To do so requires following four key fundamental steps.

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Using Data to Develop Deeper Customer Relationships
Mar 14, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

A 5 percent increase in retention rate translates to a profit bump of 25-95 percent. Despite these impressive numbers in favor of retention, most manufacturing businesses choose to focus on acquisition instead of using data to drive sales from their existing customer base.

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Increasing Your Company’s Financial Health Visibility
Mar 08, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Starting out, discrete manufacturers can generally stay on top of their numbers, trends and strategies with basic accounting tools, and key decisions generally fall to one person or a small group of executives. As the business grows, so do the financial and administrative responsibilities.

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How Discrete Manufacturers Can Build An Effective After-Sale Revenue Stream
Mar 01, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Manufacturers can expect to capture upwards of 30 percent of their revenue from after-sale service and service-based product strategies in the future. As such, they need to be prepared with an approach that generates new revenue and keeps competitors at bay.

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Six Ways Discrete Manufacturers Can Get the Most from Their ERP System
Feb 22, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

To maximize returns on the significant investment of money and time put into an ERP system, discrete manufacturers need to use best practices to, first, determine the best ERP solution for their needs and then get the most from it.

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Finding Efficiencies that Help Reduce Lead Times
Feb 15, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Supply chain delays add significant costs to your process, primarily because you need to carry more inventory than you would without those delays, but also because they can cause a slow order-to-cash cycle.

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Greater Visibility Leads to a More Optimized Supply Chain
Feb 08, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Only with broad and deep visibility into all functions across your supply chain—raw materials, suppliers, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and customers—will you have the data necessary to extract insights that lead to better processes and better results.

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How IoT Can Improve After-Sale Performance
Feb 01, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Beyond process improvement,there’s even more that can be accomplished using connective technology—like better understanding after-sale maintenance requirements and using data to understand and predict when a product will require service.

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Boosting Visibility Into Your Supply Chain to Improve Performance
Jan 25, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Supply chain visibility continues to be a hot topic because its value to manufacturers can’t be overstated: visibility into a discrete manufacturer’s entire supply chain, from procurement to final delivery, is the best—if not the only—way to profitably grow your business and sustain that growth.

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How IoT Can Help You Develop Deeper Customer Relationships
Jan 18, 2017

By Mark Stevens

Today, IoT is being widely used to improve product design and performance, but there’s also much being done using the same technologies to improve customers’ experiences with enhanced and expanded services. This means that in addition to selling products, manufacturers that leverage IoT technologies can also generate revenue through services.

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Want To Manage Inventory More Effectively? Try An ERP System
Jan 11, 2017

By Suzanne Koss

Making inventory a priority means putting real discipline behind it. One of the most effective ways to do that is deploying an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, which makes it possible for discreet manufacturers to gain more control and reduce inventory costs.

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How The Internet of Things Is Changing The Way Discrete Manufacturers Produce Products
Jan 04, 2017

By Mark Stevens

Technologies based on IoT have the potential to drastically improve data visibility and, with the intelligence that’s gathered from all those sensors, improve nearly every aspect of manufacturing. When you capture and analyze the data generated by equipment, systems and people, you’re able to unlock insights that enable you to improve virtually everything you do.

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How Should Manufacturers Develop The Next Generation Of Workers?
Dec 21, 2016

By Jeffrey H. Wulf

As more manufacturing employees near retirement, the industry must find ways to attract and retain young people in order to survive. The average age of manufacturing workers today is 40 to 50 years old, according to an article on the Manufacturing Digital website that highlights strategies for developing the workforce of the future.

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Should Manufacturers Use Short-Term Solutions To Fix Legacy ERP Problems
Dec 14, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

An article on the CIO website outlines how one company used mobile platforms to develop a short-term solution to address problems caused by its legacy ERP systems. If you have a legacy system and front-end issues, then a mobile platform solution makes sense. However, it should only be viewed as a bridge to get you where you truly need to go.

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Using Big Data To Improve Your Manufacturing Process
Nov 30, 2016

By Mark Stevens

While most companies are good at gathering data and tracking the manufacturing process, they often do very little in the way of analysis. Even fewer use ongoing Big Data analysis for continuous improvement. Although the big Fortune 1,000 companies are way ahead with this technology, smaller manufacturers are also using Big Data to gain an edge.

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How Can Manufacturers Leverage The Industrial Internet?
Nov 23, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Using the Industrial Internet, manufacturers can empower employees who are deep in the workplace to make faster, more effective decisions and give them a sense of responsibility beyond just the tasks they've been assigned. Look no further than General Electric to see this technology's potential for achieving efficiencies.

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5 Key Elements Of Analytics To Consider
Nov 16, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Analytics can provide insight into your business and help with making key decisions, but you must know what you’re trying to accomplish. To start, you need to understand the purpose behind using analytics. Are you trying to make a decision, create ideas or validate assumptions? There are five key elements of analytics to consider. 

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How Poor Inventory Management Affects Profitability
Nov 09, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

Profitability and good inventory management are intertwined. If you're inattentive to your inventory, your profit margins are likely to suffer. Learn tips for spotting poor or inadequate inventory management procedures in your manufacturing operation and discover how to achieve greater profitability today.

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How Top Performers Drive Continuous Improvement On The Shop Floor
Nov 01, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Comments (1)

In manufacturing, a popular method for measuring performance is overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). But it’s also important to look at how top performers and best practices contribute to continuous improvement in your manufacturing process. Three success factors help set these top performers apart: capacity, capability and desire.

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6 Keys To More Effective Decision-Making
Oct 25, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Effective leaders go through six steps as part of their decision-making process. It's very similar to skiers on a giant slalom who must navigate many obstacles without skipping any. When making decisions, it's important to recognize you're going through a series of stages, and that you must pass through each stage before advancing to the next.

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Are You Getting Enough Insight From Your Big Data Analytics Efforts?
Oct 11, 2016

By Terry Kerscher

The challenge with Big Data analytics lies in its name - the data is so big that the truly valuable nuggets of information are often buried too deep. As a post on the Enterprise Irregulars blog sums it up, the data is too thick, and the ability to analyze it is too thin. Learn how to get thicker insight from thinner slices of data.

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Three questions to answer to learn how the Internet of Things could affect your business
Oct 04, 2016

By Mark Stevens

The Internet of Things can be a confusing term. The real intellectual property exists in the uniqueness of the sensors or device and how information is shared with others. Answers to three key questions can help you find a new value proposition for your business.

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A Worthy Challenge: Integrating Your ERP And CRM Systems With Big Data
Sep 08, 2016

By Terry Kerscher

Many manufacturers are smart about managing their own data. But when organizations treat ERP and CRM systems as separate IT tools performing different functions, they miss out on the cost savings of integrating them, according to a recent article from SmartData Collective. Combining this information with Big Data poses an additional challenge.

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How Should Manufacturers Improve Information Flow?
Aug 30, 2016

By Luis J. Murgas

The way that information flows throughout an organization is a major factor in how efficiently the business runs. Process mapping is a great way to improve information flow. Leverage the knowledge that employees on the shop floor have, use portals to gain better visibility and refine processes as necessary to keep improving.

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The Internet Of Things Vs. The Industrial Internet
Aug 23, 2016

By Mark Stevens

When machines communicate with each other online, this technology is often described as "the Internet of Things," or IoT. But it's also useful to differentiate between the consumer-oriented IoT and more commercial-grade applications, or the "industrial Internet." As this technology spreads, manufacturers need to make data security a priority.

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Are You Deluding Yourself With Data?
Aug 16, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Data can be misleading if you're not careful. It's important to think critically about the source and type of data and to avoid jumping to conclusions. An article on the Manufacturing Business Technology website warns businesses against being deluded by data. It can be easy to read too much into data if you don't question it.

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How Should Manufacturers Improve Job Order Scheduling?
Aug 09, 2016

By Mark Stevens

A great deal of cost reductions and productivity gains can be made by aligning scheduling, supply chain and machine usage. Trend analysis is critical when it comes to improving scheduling routes and standards. Look for variance when you conduct an analysis. Areas where you see variance should be the first to be targeted for improvement.

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How Do Manufacturers Build Better Customer Relationships?
Aug 02, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

As a manufacturer, you're more likely to keep your customers if you look beyond making and selling products and explore ways to offer additional value. New ways to deepen the customer relationship and grow revenue include providing services and subscriptions that tap into device sensor data, according to a recent article on Manufacturing.net.

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What Kind Of Environments Breed Innovative Thinking?
Jul 26, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Breaking down the barriers that constrain thought is crucial to facilitating creativity and finding innovative solutions in the workplace. People are frequently too focused on what they perceive to be the problem at hand and lose sight of what's really important, according to an article on the BizTimes website.

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2 Keys To Efficient Order Fulfillment
Jul 19, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Manufacturers should evaluate their order fulfillment processes and remove any potential hurdles that could stop or delay the workflow. The keys to increasing order fulfillment efficiency are ensuring that critical information is available at each stage of the process and fostering informal communication across departments.

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3 Tips For Manufacturers To Increase Agility
Jul 12, 2016

By Mark Stevens

In today’s fast-moving environment, businesses must ensure their production system can adjust to meet changing customer demand. Customers have come to expect a speedy response thanks to advances in technology and processes that brought such conveniences as next-day delivery of consumer goods. Follow three tips to become more agile.

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3 Examples Of Manufacturers That Are Going Green
Jun 28, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Manufacturers stand to gain from finding ways to make their operations greener. According to a post on the Manufacturing Trends and News blog, green manufacturing is all about sustainability. There are several ways that companies are going green, which can help to reduce costs and even create new revenue streams.

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When Is Business Intelligence Right For Your Company?
Jun 21, 2016

By Luis J. Murgas

While "business intelligence" is a contested and confusing term, BI 1.0, BI 2.0 and now BI 3.0 do reflect a real evolution, according to a SmartData Collective article. Driving this change are technology vendors that want to tap new markets for BI solutions, as well as organizations that see the value in encouraging wider use of these tools.

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How Is Enhanced Mobile Functionality In CRM Systems Changing Sales?
Jun 07, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Tablets are increasingly popular with sales organizations, and recent advances mean it's possible to leave the laptop behind and still run full-featured CRM systems and ERP software. While sales reps have used tablets for a while to display products and catalogs, they now also have access to client histories, past orders and analytics tools.

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3 Metrics To Consider When Benchmarking Your Manufacturing Organization
May 31, 2016

By Mark Stevens

When you go see the doctor, he or she might take your pulse, temperature and blood pressure, and those tests can tell you a lot about your health. Similarly, benchmarks can give a kind of personal health assessment of an organization. But it's important to keep in mind that the same benchmarks don't work for everyone.

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Using Business Intelligence To Understand Your Market And Customers
May 24, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

If you're running a company without business intelligence tools, you're probably just sustaining your company or in a market with low competition. In competitive markets, business intelligence is a critical tool for understanding your customers and what they're buying, helping you discover patterns and see how processes are changing.

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3 Tips To Improve Collaborative Problem-Solving
May 17, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Collaborative problem-solving is about getting the right mix of people together and leveraging each individual’s unique set of skills. It must start with a common pool of understanding in which people share similar values of trust, integrity and honesty, and there must be a common purpose or vision. 

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What’s The Key To Improving Performance Alignment?
May 12, 2016

By Jeffrey H. Wulf

Many manufacturers struggle to align the performance goals of each department with the objectives of the overall organization, but it’s worth the effort. One of the major advantages is higher employee engagement, which leads to increased productivity. Improving performance alignment starts with clear and effective communication.

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Create A Culture Of Manufacturing Innovation Using Change Management
May 03, 2016

By Jeffrey H. Wulf

Innovation, by its nature, requires change. And manufacturing innovation requires a corresponding capacity for change, whether you're taking a risk on cutting-edge technology or trying new communication strategies. Companies that lead the market in manufacturing innovation often have a strong change management culture running in parallel.

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Do Your Manufacturing Process Workflows Stifle Human Genius?
Apr 26, 2016

By Mark Stevens

When automated workflows fail to align with how your employees actually think and work, effective decision-making and manufacturing innovation are hindered. Too often, the complexity of an ERP system blocks employee intuition. Unlocking the potential of data-driven workflows requires tools that combine software and human multidimensional cognition.

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Improving Profitability With Analytics And Customer Segmentation
Apr 19, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

Different customers are governed by different budget cycles. With good customer segmentation and analytics, you're able to forecast your business and its profitability more accurately. Analytics help you see how products sell across certain customer segments, providing valuable insight into areas where you could make improvements.

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Implementing A New Manufacturing ERP System? 3 Planning Steps You Shouldn't Skip
Apr 12, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

Is it time for new manufacturing software? Don't be in such a hurry to start that you skip key planning steps in your implementation. Effective planning and change management help keep your company's day-to-day efforts running alongside the implementation project. Here are three planning tips for a smooth transition to a new manufacturing ERP system.

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Want To Increase Productivity? Start Empowering Your Employees
Apr 05, 2016

By Jeffrey H. Wulf

Employee productivity and engagement isn't typically boosted by office celebrations and other soft events, an article in Entrepreneur magazine reports. To increase productivity and empower your employees so they feel like they're making a significant contribution, give them the power to take risks, make decisions and offer suggestions.

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6 Ways XRM Helps You Manage Distributed Assets
Mar 29, 2016

By Matt Gelb

When you're dealing with complex distributed assets, you need powerful tools in place to monitor and analyze the asset data. XRM gathers relevant information into one place, making it easier to monitor data points, identify standard procedures and automate routine tasks. Learn six ways to improve how you manage distributed assets with XRM.

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5 Steps To Using KPIs And Dashboards For Problem-Solving On The Shop Floor
Mar 14, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Many manufacturers provide employees with analytics and dashboards, hoping that the data empowers them to identify issues and solve problems on the shop floor. But a dashboard's usefulness depends on the relevance of the data and whether that data produces meaningful action. Here are five steps for using KPIs and dashboards effectively.

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Why Analytics Is Useless Unless Aligned With Business Objectives
Mar 09, 2016

By Mark Stevens

An article on the Information Age website says “fast data” technologies can create value because they get information into the hands of decision-makers while it’s still relevant. But it doesn’t matter how “big” or “fast” the data is. To be successful, the data must be aligned with business objectives and strategies.

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Transform Your Management With Agile Manufacturing Values
Mar 02, 2016

By Luis J. Murgas

Manufacturers tend to focus on the practices aspect of agile, similar to how they might think about "just in time" or lean manufacturing. While there are simple ways to use agile practices to improve teams, improve efficiency and increase synchronization, at its core agile is a management methodology of practices and values.

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3 Ways To Encourage Your End Users As They Learn New Manufacturing Software
Feb 24, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

Any time you introduce new manufacturing software or a different tactic for workflow improvement, you're asking employees to not only learn a new way of working, but also to stick with it despite the frustrations that often come with change. Here are three ways to get users on board and encourage them during any rough patches.

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7 Keys To Encourage User Adoption Of Your Manufacturing ERP System
Feb 17, 2016

By Suzanne Koss

ERP implementations require strong user adoption in order to reach the system's full potential. Manufacturers shouldn't simply bring a vendor in, watch the vendor set the system up and then expect employees to start using it. We outline seven keys to encourage users to embrace your manufacturing ERP system.

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The No. 1 Manufacturing Metric You Can't Afford To Ignore
Feb 10, 2016

By Mark Stevens

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When manufacturers use business intelligence to monitor performance, they're often uncertain about the specific numbers or trends they should review. How do you know you're analyzing the right metrics? Learn the single most important measure for manufacturers, and how it uncovers hidden waste and emphasizes collaboration across the organization.

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How To Use Manufacturing CRM Systems For Improving Sales And Profitability
Feb 03, 2016

By Terry Kerscher

CRM systems offer the opportunity to do more than just manage your customer and sales information. They're able to improve your manufacturing business and even increase your profitability. When you have access to market share information, the right CRM system is able to identify problem products and regions, and also highlight areas primed for growth.

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Pros And Cons Of Using Robots In Your Manufacturing Process
Jan 27, 2016

By Mark Stevens

When a manufacturing process includes a routine movement that occurs repeatedly, the repetitive motion is often a great job for a robot regardless of whether it's high-quality precision or a lower-quality task. Wondering how robots could enhance your value stream? Learn about the benefits and potential drawbacks of using robots in your manufacturing process.

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Overcoming Fear, Resistance And Skepticism With Change Management
Jan 20, 2016

By Jeffrey H. Wulf

When individuals at your company learn about plans to change the status quo, many are likely to react with cynicism and resistance. While it may seem like they're just being negative, their reactions might be rational and well-deserved. Here are three change management tips for addressing skepticism and building a culture of continuous improvement.

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How Can Value-Stream Mapping Improve Operations?
Jan 13, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Value-stream mapping is vital to helping organizations truly understand their operations and implement lean manufacturing principles. People need to see how decisions are made and materials flow. An article on the Manufacturing.net website shows how film and adhesive manufacturer FLEXcon used value-steam mapping to improve operations.

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Why Lean Processes Shouldn't Be Limited To The Shop Floor
Jan 06, 2016

By Mark Stevens

Breaking down departmental barriers is crucial to developing lean operations. According to an article on the IndustryWeek website, a lot can be gained from employees having an awareness of how their actions affect co-workers in other divisions. An end-to-end approach to improving value chains is a critical lean principle.

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