Everything evolves in the manufacturing industry, where the only constant is change. As we move towards the middle of 2015, these trends increasingly affect the manufacturing sector.
Social media is a huge trend that affects manufacturing today. Social media lets buyers connect immediately with each other to discuss their own experiences with products and organisations. This is the reason that social media will play a large role in exposing businesses with low quality products and/or management practices.
Internet savvy manufacturers can improve their business by creating closer relationships with their clients through social media networking as it provides the opportunity to interact and build relationships directly with customers. Although many people think that business to consumer (B2C) companies are the main users of social media, business to business (B2B) companies also use social networks for connecting with their suppliers.
3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing. It is the process of making solid, three-dimensional objects from a printer using a diagram or schematic of the particular object. In the additive process, the printer makes the object by laying down continual layers of material until the object is completed.
Many leaders in the manufacturing sector are excited about 3D printing. According to one leader at the CSIRO, additive printing will help manufacturers to use less material than with the traditional manufacturing methods and may help lower design development time by around 95 percent.
3D printing has been around for a little while now but is becoming more widely used as it gets cheaper and more advanced. Australian manufacturers can buy production system 3D printers to use on factory floors. One major advantage is the speed of making assembly tools.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that refers to connecting objects, devices and people to the Internet. Once connected, it is possible to transfer data over the network without the need for any human interaction. The IoT consists of anything that can connect to the Internet. It can be coffee makers, wearable fitness bands and smart refrigerators through to manufacturing plant heating and security systems that automatically dial key staff if something goes wrong. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the IoT is likely to contribute more than $6 trillion USD each year to the global economy by the year 2025.
Data management is the process of controlling and using gathered data as a valuable resource. Mining ‘big data’, large amounts of raw or structured data, is becoming more popular in the manufacturing industry. A large amount of data from the equipment running in warehouses or industrial facilities is collectible. This data can then be analysed and used through management or data tracking software to watch uptimes, repair times, KPIs, cycle times, etc. Software such as enterprise management platforms and business dashboards help warehousing and manufacturing businesses find new ways to interpret what is happening within their facilities. These tools are likely to become more sophisticated and easier for companies to use.