Manufacturers wanting to be digital innovators should be pursuing the cost-management benefits of automation and the customer expectations of personalization, Brian Irwin of Accenture writes. He notes that they should also be hiring and training their employees in the necessary digital skills while spreading such knowledge throughout their supply chains.
Control loop performance monitoring and vibration analysis may be sufficient to monitor equipment rather than more expensive and complex predictive analytics solutions, writes Bob Rice of Control Station.
The Triton attack on a Schneider Electric facility in late 2017 breached a firmware vulnerability and is the first instance of a remote-access trojan deployed as a second stage of an industrial facility cyberattack, according to Schneider researchers. Analysts said the attackers, possibly affiliated with nation-state interests, had deep enough knowledge of Schneider's systems to allow reverse-engineered mapping.
Some users may choose not to apply patches for the Spectre and Meltdown processor flaws because the fixes affect performance or may not be needed, Cliff Saran writes. How the industry responds could determine whether processors become a favored target of hackers, he argues.
Bread manufacturer Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe reduced space needs by 50% and hours worked by 30% through a robotic picking solution paired with high-density pallet storage and retrieval, says executive Tony Martin. Automation helped the business manage peak seasonal demand and improve worker safety, Martin says.
Manufacturers should apply data to achieve the materials handling equivalent of overall equipment effectiveness, writes Jim Rock of Seegrid. "Starting out with an incremental program will establish a baseline of data for future comparison," he writes.
Pacesetter Steel improved productivity by 30% and achieved a 97% on-time delivery rate by using a digital production scheduling system and digitizing its shipment-tracking process. "Part of the process in any of these 4.0 setups is continually speaking to your people and finding out what they want and what they need," executive Tyler Grahovec said.
Manufacturers can reduce flu-related absenteeism by encouraging employees to get vaccinated and making contingency plans for large-scale worker absences, John Hitch writes. Make sanitizing wipes readily available and use a mister to humidify the air, he recommends.
VF Corp. is working to align with consumer values by building social and environmental goals into its business strategy. Different brands follow different objectives, such as Vans building skate parks and Wrangler investing in sustainable materials.
3M's charitable arm 3Mgives brings science, technology, engineering and math education into K-12 schools through several initiatives. The 3M Visiting Wizards program has been visiting schools near 3M's St. Paul, Minn., campus since 1985.
The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.