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Whatever the specific functionality, some form of enterprise software is probably on every manufacturing/production company’s wish list. The potential improvements in analytics, integration, communications, performance measurement, and visibility afforded across the business can greatly streamline decision-making processes, create new insights, and save a huge amount of time and money on a number of business functions.
With the price of crude oil hovering at roughly $50/bbl, many companies might be reevaluating their industrial energy management (IEM) strategies. Certainly consumer behavior is changing in the face of low energy costs. Sales of less fuel-efficient larger vehicles and pickup trucks are increasing, people are traveling more as fuel costs drop, and consumer goods spending is up as people have more discretionary funds.
Whether we're discussing the evolution of manufacturing professionals' job roles (and careers in general), the technology used to support operations, or the initiatives that move the space forward, there never seems to be a dull moment in the manufacturing sector--especially today. With that in mind, this week's roundup highlights a few blog posts and news articles from around the industry.
Quality professionals recognize that conformance and harmonization of an enterprise Quality Management System (QMS) begins with a solid document management foundation. But the reality is, most organizations are drowning in documentation—which is why there’s no surprise that document management remains at the very top of quality management processes that have been automated by organizations.
The potential of Big Data has factored into so many conversations of late. Between boosting profitability through enhanced analytical capabilities, to improving asset performance, to achieving superior operational intelligence, we’ve talked to the ends of the earth about the possible value Big Data presents.
The majority of us have experience with mobile functionality in our personal lives these days, and for many, several times over. Smartphones are now ubiquitous and the price range of tablets is such that many have adopted them as a phone and laptop ‘in-between,’ a center of the Venn diagram of mobile and functional.
As organizations look to improve their maintenance effectiveness, many have taken the step of identifying critical production assets and collecting actual operational data such as run times and cycle counts on those assets. Often this is done automatically by linking to the programmable logic controller (PLC) or similar level one control element. In other cases, a process data historian or MES or MOM application may link to the process automation equipment and will then serve as the bridge to move that data into the APM environment.
Regardless of product type or market, every manufacturer needs to consider quality. While some industries, such as those that directly influence public health, are subject to regulations imposing quality specifications from government agencies, other companies look for competitive advantage by raising quality standards from within. Others still operate in industries where products are relatively cheap and high-speed, high-volume product turnout is more important to serving customer needs than focusing on achieving the highest level of product quality possible.
For better or worse, the landscape of regulations influences much of what goes on in manufacturing and industrial environments. Whether regulations are created to ensure product or process safety, drive improvements in environmental performance, or reduce the risk of adverse events, one consistency tends to be that they’re becoming increasingly complex and demanding.
Every January, the electronics industry and its partners all gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This is where the vendors of smartphones, TVs, tablets and other consumer electronics unveil their next-generation products. CES provides the venue that consumer electronics suppliers, including automotive companies, software vendors and classic entertainment electronics suppliers use to build momentum for what they perceive to be the hot new trends in the coming year.
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