Manufacturers can be compromised in a variety of ways by cyberattacks, not just through sensitive information about consumers, says Aon's Chad Pinson. Pinson advises all manufacturing companies to develop a proactive cybersecurity plan to help quantify risk, test for incidents and identify critical assets.
Digital transformation requires a rethinking of security, especially as many such projects are belatedly thinking about security concerns or not considering them at all, Doug Drinkwater writes. "Security should be at the forefront of all digital transformation initiatives, ideally at the planning and design stages right at the beginning," argues Nick McQuire of CCS Insights.
Manufacturers and distributors can improve inventory control by employing seven enterprise resource planning solutions, including workflow alerts, analytics, and inventory forecasting and suggested purchasing, writes Joe Scioscia of VAI.
Businesses that use warehouse executive systems can build value by embracing an integration order consolidation approach that takes advantage of loop sortation, writes Beumer Group's Kristian Toft. IOC "creates a framework for a modern, efficient and cost-effective packing system that provides long-term solutions for new market requirements and an astonishing ROI," Toft writes.
Senior executives can ensure a successful digital transformation by asking the right questions when it comes to integrating industrial internet of things technology, starting with what data is needed to improve their business and whether the solution in question will achieve that goal, says Alan Mindlin of Morey Corp.
Predictive maintenance is one of the biggest benefits of industrial internet of things technology, with firms including Hitachi Vantara, TheCarForce and John Deere applying IIoT learnings to their industries. Hitachi's Lumeda platform gathers IIoT data that can be adjusted to ensure machine-learning-model accuracy, and John Deere's JDLink system has improved monitoring of crops.
Exoskeletons and ergonomic tools have the potential to help workers across every industry reach levels of productivity and overcome aches and pains that otherwise hold them back, writes Travis Hessman. "The real potential here isn't to get me off my dumb cane, it isn't to help workers overcome decades of strains and sprains -- it's to prevent these injuries from occurring in the first place," he writes.
Manufacturing today is "an industry that is about upscaling, upskilling and future-proofing jobs for all Americans -- a dynamic environment that supports not just today's jobs, but also tomorrow's," says National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons.
The rapid pace of product movement through supply chains is putting pressure on companies to move payments more quickly as well. Technology and software companies are working on solutions to process freight payment faster between supply chain sectors.
DHL Supply Chain is using 100-pound LocusBots, developed by Locus Robotics, to double its productivity and increase efficiency. The pickers are already in use at its Memphis, Tenn., facility, and the company plans to incorporate them at additional locations.