With new tools such as inventory control software, warehouse management systems and time tracker software, manufacturing may currently be seeing more improvements in technology than any other industry. ThomasNet.com's 2013 Industry Market Barometer survey said 30 years ago, not many would have thought this industry could utilize and bring forth so much new technology, but now, everything from design engineering and on uses some kind of software or innovation.
There were 1,209 manufacturing professionals who responded to this survey, 42 percent of which said their company has added some kind of new technology over the past three years. More than 42 percent said this technology was key to their competitiveness, as boosts in productivity came from these adoptions.
"Our company has transformed from a small manual welding shop to a national supplier of trailer-hitch, agricultural, and job-shop products and processes by embracing technology to increase worker productivity," one respondent told ThomasNet.com.
Owners and managers are focusing more on software that can give them a top line view of what is happening in their facility, the report said, such as warehouse inventory management software. About 62 percent of manufacturers said their website will have the greatest impact on securing business, which is three times the number who said the same last year.
Statistics from this report show:
– Technology is creating more opportunities, as 55 percent of manufacturers said they grew this past year
– 63 percent expect their business to grow in the coming year
– 70 percent of the respondents to the survey were product and custom manufacturers
– Nearly two-thirds were small businesses with up to 100 employees and 68 percent had revenues of less than $50 million
"As a foundation for our economy, the manufacturing sector remains vibrant, but cracks are coming to the surface," said ThomasNet President Eileen Markowitz. "Changes in the workforce demographics and old attitudes about manufacturing as a career threaten the industry's expansion. It's time for those who love American manufacturing to double their efforts to engage the next generation."
Plan more for change, less for technology
A few years ago, the Channel Technologies Group found itself in a place where it needed to switch to an updated ERP program. Instead of planning for the manufacturing technology upgrade, the organization looked more toward change in general. Manufacturing.net said they first looked at the vision and what could change there.
"With a clear goal in mind, CTG was able to implement an ERP system that tracked the process of the build cycle, and used it to make adjustments in real-time, reducing inventory by 15 percent and the scrap rates of all production units in just one year," the news source said.
After figuring out goals, Manufacturing.net said they had to figure out what the right tool for the job was and get the right team of people in place to make sure the upgrade in technology and philosophy worked out as well as possible.
Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.