3D printing has helped companies rethink supply chains, transform operations and manufacture different products during the pandemic, writes Ramon Pastor, HP's interim president of 3D printing and digital manufacturing. "These months have been an indisputable proving ground for what's to come in manufacturing, and it is rooted in an ecosystem mentality," he argues.
Southco President Thomas Mehler says his company has managed to endure recent supply chain strains with a strategy that includes "local design and engineering capabilities." The goal is plants that have high performance and consistent training regardless of location, thus creating a greater degree of resilience.
Goodway Technologies and Victory Innovations have seen record orders for surface-disinfecting spray equipment, and the unexpected demand can be a strain on supply chains. Goodway offers six models now instead of three in a bid to meet the needs of various industries.
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Intel's focus on improving inventory planning created $1.3 billion in additional gross profits from 2014 to 2017, according to Intel-supported research. Algorithms have driven this financial improvement as a replacement for "planner rule-of-thumb estimates applied across all products," the research paper says.
Manufacturers that work closely with suppliers can realize new sources of value, but such collaboration is not always easy. McKinsey worked with Michigan State University to explore these difficulties and develop an index.
The pandemic has highlighted the value of digital transformation, according to 71% of manufacturing survey respondents. "The opportunity to reduce the distance between manufacturers and end users through digital technology may be more transformative than the newfound ability to occasionally work from home," says Drew Caylor of WILsquare Capital.
Recent high-school graduates in an Ohio district are learning about careers in manufacturing as part of the Manufacturing Mobile Crew summer program. The program includes hands-on learning, as well as a tour of industrial sites in several communities.