It’s no understatement to say that the manufacturing industry is the backbone of America. Employing around 11.7 million people and contributing almost $2.4 trillion to the US economy, manufacturing is one of the few industries that’s set to thrive over the coming years.
From household furniture and food packaging to the parts inside our cars, almost everything we use on a day to day basis has been manufactured. But with so many people relying on these items, how can modern manufacturers make sure they’re optimized to answer the national need?
This post will outline five key considerations for modern manufacturers. These are the digital practices that help both small and big businesses alike keep track of their stock, ensure products meet their standards, and keep their customers satisfied.
1. Product traceability
Product traceability is the practice of tracking your inventory from start to finish – from raw materials to products that are ready to send. For today’s modern manufacturers, the easiest way to do this is by using dedicated product traceability software – programs that enable brands to visualize their supply chain networks in real-time.
Product traceability is a key consideration for a number of reasons. Not only does it allow manufacturers to streamline their process and keep on top of their inventory, it also means that they can track which stores their products go to. This is important if the issue of product recall arises, where you would need to inform customers that they’ve bought a faulty unit, for example.
Earlier this year, a Pennsylvanian couple took legal action against IKEA because they felt the brand handled a 2018 product recall badly – so being able to trace products accurately is crucial!
2. Workplace safety
Workplace safety is one of the most important considerations for manufacturing brands. Shockingly, a report in 2013 found that approximately 150 Americans die in work-related accidents every day, as a result of poor safety measures and unregulated hazards. So how can modern manufacturers reduce this risk?
One effective way is with increased automation. On our factory floors, robots and technology are increasingly replacing workers when it comes to the most dangerous jobs. Thanks to sensors and conditional programming, they can both adapt to changing circumstances more quickly and withstand more hazardous situations than their human counterparts.
There are huge benefits to introducing robots to modern manufacturing businesses, from more rigorous (and objective) product testing to increased vigilance and longer working hours. It’s also cheaper to ‘employ’ robots in the long run than it is to hire people.
But these benefits are counterbalanced by the fact that more robotics means fewer jobs for the people that need them. As a result, the key issue of workplace safety versus automation is one which manufacturing businesses must consider carefully.
3. Outpacing the competition
We’ve already mentioned that the manufacturing industry is booming throughout the United States. But as the industry continues to grow, a key consideration for modern manufacturers will be keeping ahead of the competition.
Technology will prove instrumental to this. Companies which are adopting digital trends to track their supply chain and create superior products will likely overtake those which are still relying on outdated methods of production.
Aside from the initial investment, digitally-advanced companies are able to keep running costs low, streamline their operations, and submit their products to standardized testing – ensuring higher quality overall.