US manufacturing activity in November grew at its fastest rate since April, according to IHS Markit preliminary data from its manufacturing and services purchasing managers indexes. The manufacturing PMI of 52.2 indicates expansion.
Metrics that are valuable for smart manufacturing include customer satisfaction, inventory turnover, order cycle time and demand forecast accuracy, writes Louis Columbus, who lists 10 metrics. "Smart factories' analytics strategies are designed to optimize the trade-offs of cost, production flexibility (as measured by scaling for higher and lower production volumes), product & service quality, and time," he writes.
Manufacturing production requires oversight at all stages, which can take the form of monitors, analysis and sensors. Bill Frahm writes. He explains how to use controls in materials and supplies, machinery and equipment, and personnel.
Before year's end, manufacturers should look to secure low freight rates, improve efficiency through digital investment and make speed-to-market improvements, writes Lauren Pittelli of Baker Logistics Consulting Services. Don't depend too heavily on one carrier, she argues, whether on water or land.
Manufacturing executives are often flummoxed at the start of improvement initiatives wondering where to begin. However, creating a proof of concept can drastically enhance the effectiveness of a continuous improvement effort and swiftly achieve performance and best-practice objectives. Learn more about modeling and replication in continuous improvement.
Workplace ergonomics programs succeed when they are usable, useful and desirable, writes Caster Connection President Joe Lyden. "If employees have really felt the difference and are willing to describe their experience as highly positive, then it is quite probable that a company's ergonomic initiatives will have a real chance of succeeding," he writes.
Rockwell Automation, Thor Industries and Johnson Controls are among the manufacturers creating school-based educational programs for students as young as 8. "High school is the new 'college,' and middle school is the new 'high school,'" says Cheryl Aquadro of Johnson Controls.