The Future of Manufacturing

What does the success of your manufacturing business look like? It depends on how quickly you can adapt to the new systems that have become standard in the wake of the pandemic.

E-Commerce is booming – which means the pressure is on for manufacturers to operate as efficiently as possible. They’re currently servicing a growing marketplace with increasingly high demands and expected to lower costs while experiencing fewer errors.

So, what does the future of manufacturing look like? Here, we will explore best practices that will help drive a successful, smarter and more sustainable business in the months ahead.

Improve Your Facility’s Energy Efficiency

The industrial sector accounts for approximately 32% of all energy consumption in the US. The majority fuels manufacturing processes. Vast amounts of energy are required to keep production moving, including heating, cooling, lighting and more. Scaling back your energy expenses can improve your bottom line and lead to increased profitability. Here’s where to start:

  • Turn Off Appliances and Equipment: Avoid skyrocketing energy costs by following sustainable best This includes switching off IT equipment (such as computers, printers, scanners and lights) when not in use. For every 1,000 kWh that you preserve by turning off a power switch, you save an average of $70 on your utility bill.
  • Install an Enterprise Energy Management System: This system helps to measure and optimize your warehouse’s energy consumption. It also tracks costs and identifies anomalies that can help reduce energy use and save money.
  • Use Efficient Lighting: Manufacturing facilities need to be well-lit, but lighting is a huge energy consumer. Explore if your manufacturing facility could support LED lighting, skylights or networked lighting controls.
  • Improve Process Heating: Process heating is required to make most consumer and industrial goods, and it can be responsible for more than one-third of a facility’s energy usage. You can reduce this by installing waste heat recovery systems, leveraging alternative fuels with higher combustion efficiency and improving insulation.

Committing to sustainable practices is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must do” to keep your business operating effectively.

Adapt New Manufacturing Processes

As demands for improved efficiency and performance continue to surface, it’s time you rethink traditional manufacturing practices to optimize processes and maximize value.

Lean manufacturing helps facilities take advantage of opportunities for improvement while focusing on increasing value for their customers. The core principles are all about identifying ways to eliminate waste (as measured in time, inventory and cost) across the complete supply chain. This is designed to maximize productivity and quality.

Taking it one step further, cellular manufacturing offers increased efficiency and control over the entire production process. Rather than processing multiple parts before sending them on to the next machine (as is the case in batch-and-queue), cellular manufacturing aims to move products through the manufacturing process one piece at a time, at a rate determined by customers’ needs.

By going lean, your facility can reduce costs, enhance quality and improve overall success.

Get On Board with Digital Solutions

Technological advancements in manufacturing, such as robots or industrial manipulators, are changing the way businesses operate. Digital tools and systems have the power to increase productivity reduce waste and monitor progress, all of which help create a more sustainable environment. Consider implementing:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning: ERP is a management software designed to boost your facility’s efficiency. It centralizes the information needed to create a bill of materials for each project, route and pick materials for assembly, produce work orders and monitor quality assurance.
  • Industrial Internet of Things: Industrial Internet of Things is a technology-driven approach that uses interconnected IoT devices to make the manufacturing process “smart”. For example, sensors placed on manufacturing machines gather data to help you understand how they’re performing. This gives you an opportunity to optimize your maintenance process, reduce machine downtime and even predict when things will go wrong.
  • Radio Frequency Identification: Instead of labels or barcodes, manufacturing plants are placing RFID tags on materials as soon as they enter the facility. RFID tags enable you to track materials through all components of the manufacturing process. This tracking allows for easier identification of bad batches of parts, helping to improve quality assurance.

Adapting to new technologies and systems will boost your facility’s production, lessen employee burnout and save you money in the process.

Implement Material Handling Tools

In manufacturing, the production system setup is crucial. A plant’s efficiency and profitability are dependent on successful material flow. Without it, production would grind to a halt.

Industrial Manipulators increase productivity and lower injury risks, helping your company strive towards optimization. These handlers are ideal for instances when:

  • A product is too heavy for a person to move manually
  • A product must be moved to a location that is not easily or quickly accessible for a person to reach (like a very tall shelf)
  • A person will be put at risk for injury if they move a product manually
  • A person will quickly fatigue from moving products manually
  • A high volume of product must be moved in a timely fashion

Industrial manipulators can be customized according to your facility’s unique needs, allowing your employees to focus on more critical tasks, streamlining production processes.

Invest in Your Employees

Plain and simple, companies that maintain a high development culture are more likely to have happier, more engaged employees. Increasing their quality of life at work will benefit your production process and your overall revenue in the long run.

Invest in your staff by developing useful training modules, optimizing facility safety, fostering an employee-focused workplace and making sure each member of your organization is appropriately compensated, rewarded and held accountable. Doing so will increase your staff retention, enhance performance overall and improve your bottom line.

Take Action

Businesses across the globe are committed to adapting a variety of innovative solutions to keep the industry thriving for generations to come. These initiatives, married with the introduction of digital intelligence and the emergence of new technology, mean that you can expect a truly smarter, more sustainable, and more productive manufacturing facility in the future.

While exploring new solutions, you may find that industrial manipulators could be a crucial asset in improving your facility’s operations. If you’re ready to discuss which material handling device could be right for you, contact us today.

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