Technology has rapidly changed the manufacturing process, affecting everything from how products are produced to the way they're tracked when they leave warehouses. Thomas Net's Ilya Leybovich explained that innovative communications and collaboration systems can shorten the amount of time it takes to get a product to market, increase innovation, decrease operational costs, enhance cooperation across different locations and improve productivity. Operations, manufacturing, supply chain and warehousing settings have all benefited from new technology systems.
"A year after introducing digital technology, 10.9 percent of leading shops said they saw improvements in inventory accuracy, 10.6 percent saw improvement in overall equipment effectiveness, 10.2 percent experienced better on-time delivery rates, 8.2 percent saw better returns on assets, and 6.3 percent cut down on unscheduled asset downtime," explained Leybovich.
This is because information is now accessible on a broader variety of devices. Tools like automated data collection software show product manufacturing and logistics information in real time, regardless of where data is being accessed. Some of the other benefits of these automated data collection methods include:
- Eliminating uncertainty about product location
- Improving the ability to communicate about logistics
- Remaining in compliance with regulations that require companies to track products
In addition to technology being able to track and report, it can also improve connectivity between employees, partners, suppliers and customers throughout the supply chain, wrote Forbes contributor Josh Vides. Instead of reacting to problems or complaints after they occur, managers can more proactively spot delivery issues or supply chain hang-ups.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of these new technologies is speed, explained Vides. Actionable data is provided in real time rather than being slowly collected and analyzed on a quarterly basis.
"Now, technology lets me offer that value fast," he wrote. "Faster delivery of information means we can shift investments, determine metrics and priorities, and really quickly impact the numbers."