Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Manufacturing

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 14, 2017 8:00:00 AM

There’s one thing that pops to mind when you ask people about artificial intelligence in the manufacturing industry, particularly in the automotive landscape: Autonomous or driver-assisted cars. And the future of driverless vehicles may in fact arrive sooner than many people think, there’s actually more concrete contexts for artificial intelligence (AI) in today’s manufacturing sphere. AI has the potential to impact the automotive manufacturing supply chain in equally profound and interesting ways beyond the idea of the driverless car. In fact, AI has the potential to be a truly disruptive force in the way automotive manufacturing companies produce vehicles and how the consumer interacts with the end product. 

With AI as an increasingly common technology platform, the manufacturing industry — automotive sector in particular — is set to experience significant changes in the coming years in terms of production and supply chain management. As vehicles become more integrated, individualized, and complex, manufacturing companies will have to leverage more lean methods of production and supply chain logistics to keep pace with the demands of such a variant-rich industry.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Digitization, Lean Manufacturing

How Machine Learning Impacts Supply Chain Management

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Sep 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The manufacturing has long relied and functioned on a platform of automation or an automated method of facilitating production programs. The production facility floor is ground zero for how manufacturing companies use robotics or artificial intelligence to streamline production processes and increase the efficiency of how products move from the production floor to the customer’s door. But what’s slowly gaining more and more prominence in the manufacturing industry is machine learning outside of the actual production space and the ways in which a digitized manufacturing platform can enhance supply chain management at every touch point of the value stream.

Understanding machine learning in this context — a holistic reimagination of how this technology can be a disruptive force in a cross-organizational way from sales and procurement to transport logistics — puts machine learning on a grander stage in terms of shaping the future of the automotive supply chain. In addition, machine learning can provide planners and managers with a critical competitive advantage in a somewhat uncertain, variant-rich manufacturing space.

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Topics: Digitization

How Digitization Can Break Down Planning Silos

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Jul 25, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Digitization in today’s global supply chain is most often conceived as a building tool for manufacturing companies. Whether it’s constructing a more efficient, streamlined planning and production scheme or creating enhanced methods of procurement, inventory management, job allocation, and transport logistics, digitization is a supply chain management platform whereby companies can leverage greater efficacy to grow their business, create stronger partner networks, and leverage competitive advantages in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

But digitization can also be a critical tool for deconstructing, particularly when it comes to breaking down planning silos across a manufacturing company’s entire value chain. Because digitization centers on decentralizing data hubs and creating a more collaborative environment between the planning and production stages of the manufacturing cycle, traditional planning silos can be eliminated in favor of fostering stronger links from the C suite to the production floor — a philosophy that’s becoming increasingly valuable in modern supply chain management.  

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Topics: Digitization

The Key Challenges in Digitizing Your Supply Chain

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Jun 15, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Overhauling your global supply chain management and logistical platform can sure seem like a daunting concept. A holistic rethinking of how and why your planning and production programs function can not only be costly and time-consuming, but it can also reveal new pain points previously unrealized that can pose significant hurdles for planners and managers in executing daily, weekly, and monthly operations.

However, as digitization across the global supply network becomes more of a necessity, it is important for planners and managers to assess the challenges and risks associated with overhauling their supply pipelines to conform to a more digital platform. Digitizing your supply chain can be challenging, especially for manufacturing companies still reliant on manual inputs and spreadsheet models, but the benefits far outweigh the cost, time, and resources required to bring your supply chain into the digital age.

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Topics: Digitization, Supply Chain Management, Lean Manufacturing

How A Digitized Supply Chain Can Drive Manufacturing Growth

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Jun 8, 2017 9:00:00 AM

For today’s manufacturing companies, the only way forward is to prioritizing growth and leveraging the necessary tools to engender that growth. One of the most effective (and critical drivers of manufacturing growth) is embracing digital technology and a holistic digitization of a company’s supply stream. The trouble is, many manufacturing companies don’t truly understand what is meant by a digitized supply chain. Is a digitized supply chain simply swapping outdated technology for the latest and greatest technological platforms? Is it merely a system of systems and solutions with the ability to communicate with each other? Or it a complete redefining of supply chain management to optimize processes and streamline planning and production strategies?

In fact, the digitized supply chain is comprised of a little of each of these statements.

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Topics: Supply Chain Logistics, Digitization

What Is A Truly Digitized Supply Chain?

Posted by Nick Ostdick on May 23, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The term digitization pops up again and again as a critical value proposition for companies to leverage growth and viability in today’s manufacturing industry. The trouble is, many manufacturing companies don’t truly understand what is meant by a digitized supply chain. Is a digitized supply chain simply swapping outdated technology for the latest and greatest technological platforms? Is it merely a system of systems and solutions with the ability to communicate with each other? Or it a complete redefining of supply chain management to optimize processes and streamline planning and production strategies?

In fact, the digitized supply chain is comprised of a little of each of these statements. A completely digitized supply chain does rely on intelligent, integrated solutions rather than manual inputs or human intervention; the digital supply chain does incorporate advanced systems capable of communicating and data sharing for optimal workflows; and a digitized supply chain is a holistic reimagination of how manufacturing companies operate their supply chain management strategies from procurement to the production floor to the customer’s front door.

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Topics: Intelligent Planning, Supply Chain Logistics, Logistics, Digitization, Supply Chain Management

The Role of Advanced Analytics in Reducing Risk

Posted by Nick Ostdick on May 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The introduction of advanced analytics into today’s global manufacturing pipeline has provided planners and managers with a number of critical value propositions in leveraging enhanced reporting and metrics for reaching business outcomes and goals. Yet one of the most valuable applications of advanced analytics exists not on the side of revenue and profitability, but in the realm of reducing the risks involved with administering a global supply network.

Because so much of today’s manufacturing industry exists in a variant-rich environment with network partners spread over disparate parts of the globe, the likelihood for significant disruptions or bottlenecks in the supply stream is ever-increasing. With a reliance on intelligent, integrated technology platforms and movements like Industry 4.0 and Big Data, advanced analytics gives manufacturing companies the capacity to review large pools of data in real-time to make critical adjustments to planning and production programs to avoid costly breakdowns across key areas of the value chain.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Supply Chain Logistics, Supply Chain Planning, Advanced Analytics, Digitization

How Digitization Can Drive Growth for Manufacturing Companies

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Apr 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Growth.

It’s a goal every manufacturing company chases, but what do we really mean when we talk about growth? Do we define growth as merely increases in annual revenue? Is growth an expansion of a company’s footprint and influence in certain markets or with specific customer pools? Do we consider growth in terms of developing and evolving a company’s overall operational platform or strategy? More than likely, growth for today’s manufacturing companies is a blend of all three conceptions, and to foster a brand of growth which encapsulates each definition, today’s manufacturers need to leverage a holistic reimagining of their supply and production schemes.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Digitization, Supply Chain Management, Lean Manufacturing

Key Challenges in the Digitization of the Supply Chain

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Apr 13, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Digitization. If there’s one major buzzword in today’s global supply logistics, it may be digitization. But the movement toward an end-to-end (E2E) digitally-driven supply stream is more than simply the flavor of the day; rather, it represents a fundamental shift in the way planners and managers oversee and deploy their planning and production processes.

If we understand supply chain digitization as the movement toward a completely integrated sequence of planning and production solutions that work in tandem to create a more visible  and agile supply stream across, then it’s clear why this topic is top priority for companies looking to remain competitive and growth-oriented in the 21st Century. Digitization not only helps companies function more efficiently and effectively, but it also provides companies the responsiveness and agility necessary to address and avoid potential breakdowns in demand planning, production, transportation, and yard or container management.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Supply Chain Logistics, Digitization, Supply Chain Management

Advanced Analytics As A Cost-Savings Tool

Posted by Nick Ostdick on Apr 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The metaphorical toolbox supply chain planners and managers have at their disposal is getting bigger and more diverse. This is due in large part to the complex nature of today’s global manufacturing and supply pipeline, but also because manufacturing companies must work tirelessly to remain efficient and growth-oriented in a competitive business landscape. Reducing operational costs and enhancing profitability is part and parcel to these efforts, and one of the most effective tools companies can use in this effort is advanced analytics.

With an endgame of helping manufacturing companies analyze and sort data, streamline processes, and increase the efficiency of planning and production programs, advanced analytics is a critical value proposition in a variant-rich industry where network partners operate at numerous disparate points across the globe. Because advanced analytics relies in large part on the adoption of intelligent technologies or solutions like Industry 4.0, Big Data, and The Internet of Things (IOT), planners and managers have the ability to put large amounts of data and reporting to work to leverage lean manufacturing principles for greater derived value.

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Topics: Industry 4.0, Supply Chain Logistics, Advanced Analytics, Digitization, Supply Chain Management, Lean Manufacturing